What You Should Know About Alimony in California

Alimony is defined as the court ordered provision for a spouse after the marriage has been dissolved. This is one element of a divorce that you must take into account, especially if you have a significant income discrepancy between you and your spouse. California is an alimony state. This means that family law courts will assign alimony or spousal support in this state, and this also means that you have to make sure you present the best case. If you are seeking alimony, you will need to prove why you should receive it, and if you are being pressed for alimony, you will need to make the case with your family law lawyer as to why you should not have to pay it.

Impact of the Length of the Marriage

When it comes to alimony, one of the key elements that the family law judge is going to look at is the length of the marriage. In California, a judge is going to look at the marriage and evaluate its length as a way to determine if one spouse is dependent on the other for their standard of living and the lifestyle they have become accustomed to. The shorter the marriage, the less likely it is that a family court judge will award alimony.

Work During the Marriage

Family law in California is based on equity. To determine how well a partner may do after the marriage has been dissolved, the family law judge is going to look at each partner’s work history. If both partners have a steady work history with an income that can support each of them individually, there is no need to allocate alimony. However, if one of the partners has not worked for the duration of the marriage or has only had paltry employment that would not be sufficient to support them, alimony becomes part of the conversation. Having work history records is an important part of the documentation in these calculations.

Alimony and Business Ownership

If one spouse receives their income through a business, calculating their true income requires additional work.  For this, we will want to see tax returns and may recommend getting the assistance of a CPA in determining what the actual personal income should be listed at since things like personal cell phones and car payments can easily be written off.

Age Matters in Alimony Decisions

The age and health of each of the parties is going to be taken into consideration when a family law court judge is determining alimony. The older a person is, the more likely it is that a judge will award alimony. This is because a person who is older may not be able to find work or take care of themselves financially. To make sure a person is able to maintain their lifestyle in old age, a judge may allocate alimony payments.

Length of Alimony Payments

In California, alimony may not be forever. There are numerous factors that are used to determine how long alimony should be allocated for. Sometimes this may be 10 years, 15 years, or more. The important thing that is taken into account is how long the supported spouse may need to get up to an income level that will support their own life and lifestyle. Fairness and ensuring that the spouse continues to have the same lifestyle, without taking advantage of the other spouse, are key elements to alimony allocations.

Do You Know Someone Getting Divorced?

The subject of alimony can be confusing and highly circumstantial.  If you know someone that is getting divorced, share this blog with them so that they can become more informed regarding the process, what to expect, and some of how alimony is calculated.

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