Spousal support is just one of the many complex issues that might arise during your divorce case. Every divorce is different, and it’s important to find an attorney who is willing to take the time to get to know the personal issues that will reflect upon your divorce proceedings. The Ewing Law Group has more than 30 combined years of professional experience handling difficult divorce cases in northern California. As your divorce lawyers, the team at Ewing Law Group will thoroughly review your divorce case and determine your best available options.
We take an individualized approach to divorce and understand how difficult a divorce can be for anyone. We will help you determine the role spousal support is likely to play in your divorce proceedings, whether you are expecting to pay or receive it.
Spousal support’s purpose is to provide the supported spouse with enough financial assistance to ensure they can enjoy a standard of living similar to what they had while married. If one spouse earned significantly more income than the other, or if one of the spouses quit their job to raise children and become a homemaker, it can affect spousal support. The lower-earning spouse would likely receive alimony or spousal support based on the length of the marriage, the supported spouse’s medical needs, and the higher-earning spouse's income.
Most spousal support arrangements exist on a temporary basis. In some cases, it is possible to request spousal support during divorce proceedings before finalizing their divorce. A judge will likely grant spousal support for the lower-earning spouse. Courts in California have a unique formula for determining the amount of spousal support.
Once the divorce case proceeds further, the spousal permanent support decision will rest in the hands of the judge, and the judge will consider multiple factors in determining an appropriate support arrangement. Many judges award temporary support for a few years to allow the recipient time to adjust to single life and new employment. It’s possible to secure permanent alimony from your ex, but only under certain conditions.
A few of the factors you can expect a judge to consider when it comes to alimony in your divorce include:
● The length of the marriage. Alimony or spousal support is less likely to come up in divorces following brief marriages. Both the amount and the length of payments awarded typically hinge on how long the marriage lasted.
● Ages of the spouses. An older spouse with no work history or a medical inability to work will have a much higher chance of securing long-term or permanent spousal support than a younger spouse who is clearly capable of supporting themselves.
● The couple’s children. It is not uncommon for married parents to stop working to raise their children. If one spouse sacrificed job opportunities and employment to be a homemaker and raise children, this will certainly reflect in a spousal support determination.
● The couple’s debts. Debts fall under community property in most California cases, and the debt a couple accrues during their marriage becomes the joint responsibility of both spouses in divorce.
● Each spouse’s medical needs. Some people have chronic medical conditions that require constant treatment or expensive medications. A supported spouse’s medical needs may encourage a judge to award them more substantial alimony.
● Any past incidents of domestic violence between the spouses.
● The tax implications of spousal support for both the paying and the receiving spouses.
Once a judge has determined an appropriate amount of alimony for the supported spouse to receive each month and the length of time these monthly payments will continue, the judge will also decide additional terms and conditions for both spouses. This includes payment requirements for the paying spouse and a list of “terminating actions” the supported spouse might perform to disqualify them from receiving further spousal support.
Whenever a judge orders spousal support on a long-term or permanent basis, the judge may include special rules that the supported spouse must acknowledge and follow. Any action the supported spouse takes that would nullify the alimony arrangement is a terminating action. A few possible examples of terminating actions include the death of one of the divorced spouses or the supported spouse starting a new relationship with a new partner that involves cohabitation or marriage.
It is important to think carefully before starting a new relationship if you receive alimony from your ex. Your Sacramento divorce attorney can review your alimony terms with you to help you better understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to your spousal support arrangement.
The sooner you connect with a reliable and experienced divorce lawyer, the sooner you can start building your case for spousal support. If you are expecting to pay, your attorney will ensure you have fair and reasonable payment terms. If you expect to receive alimony, we will help you understand the fine print of your spousal support arrangement. If you are ready to meet with a divorce attorney and discuss spousal support in your case, contact the Ewing Law Group today
and schedule a consultation with our team.