Spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, is an important financial consideration for anyone getting divorced. The dissolution of a marriage often has long-term effects on both spouses, with the risk of one partner being left in a more difficult financial situation than before. That’s why laws on support exist. In every state, spousal support is intended to help married partners who have less income and are therefore at risk after a divorce.
Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, you may be able to request alimony from your spouse. In California there are different kinds of spousal support and how much you might be eligible for will depend on certain factors.
Types of Spousal Support in California
There are several types of spousal support available under California law. These include:
Temporary Spousal Support
Temporary support is awarded if either party needs financial assistance while the divorce is pending or if the divorcing couple cannot reach an agreement about how to divide marital property. Temporary alimony is typically ordered for a limited period of time, usually three to six months. A judge may grant an application to extend or reduce temporary alimony based on changed circumstances.
In California, temporary alimony can be awarded while awaiting a restraining order from a domestic violence case. The amount of temporary spousal support is determined through a countywide formula.
Long-Term Spousal Support
Alimony is intended to help people who cannot earn enough money to live without financial assistance. Long-term support is usually paid over a period of several years. A judge may award long-term spousal support and set specific terms for ending support. Recipients must meet certain criteria before receiving support.
California does not use a calculator to determine the amount of long-term spousal support. In most cases, if both spouses work outside the home, the supported spouse will receive less money per month than if they didn’t work outside the home.
How Do Judges Determine Spousal Support in California?
Spousal support awards are determined according to the needs of each individual case. Family law courts have broad discretion in awarding spousal support. A judge will consider the length of the marriage, whether there are children together or not, how much money the parties bring into the relationship, and other factors. These include:
- Income earned during the marriage
- Assets owned prior to the marriage
- Income earned after separation
- Ability to earn money
- The health of both spouses
- Other factors deemed just and equitable
In most cases, the amount of spousal support awarded depends on the income of both partners.
Alimony is usually ordered by the court after divorce proceedings end. In California, both spouses have equal rights under the law regarding getting support. Generally a person who earns more money should pay more child support or alimony. Both men and women are eligible to receive alimony payments if they divorce. Judges sometimes require that the paying spouse set aside money in a special account to ensure future payments.
How Long Do Spousal Support Payments Last in California?
Alimony is usually ordered if both parties work outside the home and one party needs help maintaining a certain standard of living. In most cases, alimony ends when either party dies or remarries. In California, there is no limit on how long spousal support lasts.
Can I Modify a Spousal Support Order?
A spousal support order may be modified if there is a material change in circumstances. An award of a fixed duration cannot generally be extended. However, an extension may be granted if the original order specified a specific date upon which the obligation would terminate.
Can I Terminate a Spousal Support Order?
A spousal support order is an order requiring one party to pay money to another party based on a legal duty or agreement. An order may be terminated if there is a substantial change in circumstances. Your obligation will end upon the death of your former spouse.
Contact a Redwood City Divorce Attorney
If you are going through a divorce or separation, then you may be facing issues regarding alimony, child custody, and visitation rights. If you need advice about these matters, contact a Redwood City divorce lawyer at our firm today. We can provide you with information about your options and answer any questions you might have. Schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Bradley D. Bayan by calling (650) 364-3600 or using our online form.