Spousal support, or alimony, is a financial obligation that the court orders one spouse to pay the other spouse when a marriage dissolves for support each month.
This monthly support obligation is called “spousal support” and allows the spouse to maintain a similar standard of living which they were accustomed to during the marriage. Either parent can request that the amount of spousal support be changed if there is a change in circumstance by either party. Additionally, when spousal support is awarded, the spousal support payments can be enforced by the court. In determining spousal support the court will consider circumstances provided under California Family Code § 4320.
Alimony creates a debtor/creditor relationship between you and your spouse and leaves a lasting connection between both of you until the obligation for alimony ends.Many times, we must take an in depth look into the parties’ actual income and available assets, the marital standard of living, and other complex issues.
Alimony awards are based upon many different variables:
- The receiving spouse’s education, health, work history, and earning potential
- The length of the marriage
- The paying spouse’s income, earning potential, and health
- The existence and enforceability of a prenuptial agreement
- The marital standard of living
In California, there are two basic types of spousal support:
can be obtained by a spouse who needs financial assistance while the divorce is still pending. Essentially, it is based on the need of one party balanced against the other party’s ability to pay. This calculation is accomplished by using a statewide, judicially-recognized guideline.
This guideline is implemented by often utilizing computer programs which take into consideration the relative earnings of the parties. This program, when used improperly, can result in dramatically incorrect results. Our attorneys are well versed in the proper use of these programs and the complex tactics involved in entering data for the spousal support calculation.
if ordered, will be calculated based on the respective incomes of each spouse, the length of the marriage and a long list of other factors contained in the state statute (Family Code section 4320). These are typically set by agreement or after a trial. An experienced attorney is critical to such an agreement or trial. A bad result may not be repairable and may affect you for years.
A spousal support award is not mandatory in dissolution or legal separation proceedings in California. Quite the contrary, courts have discretion (within statutory parameters) to deny spousal support altogether or to limit it in an amount and duration that reflects the ability of both parties to provide for their own needs.
The propriety of a California alimony award (whether to order it and, if so, its terms) is judged broadly by the parties’ “circumstances” in reference to the standard of living established during their marriage and their respective needs and abilities to pay. [Ca Fam §§ 4320, 4330(a)]
The Sacramento Spousal Support Attorneys of Bowman & Associates have helped clients across Northern California. If you or someone you know has legal questions regarding Alimony or Spousal Support, contact our Sacramento Family Law Firm at (916) 923-2800 for your free initial consultation. We are here to help…