Divorce is a challenging time not only personally, but financially. If you have devoted yourself to caring for home and family so that your spouse could have a successful career, you may wonder how you will support yourself after a divorce. If you have been the primary earner, you might be concerned about whether you will have to pay alimony (spousal support), and whether you will have enough left over for your own needs if you do.
At Roberts & Zatlin, we know that these financial issues contribute greatly to the stress of the divorce process. We help you understand how California spousal support law applies to the facts of your case, and advocate for an outcome that provides you with the resources you need to build a successful life after divorce.
In California, what is commonly known as "alimony" is called "spousal support." A temporary award of spousal support is based on guideline calculations and maintaining the status quo. A permanent award of spousal support is based on need and the ability to pay. Spousal support can be awarded to either a husband or wife; the gender of the recipient does not figure into the calculation at all.
The purpose of spousal support is to ease the transition of the lower-earning spouse from married life into being single, and to allow both spouses to have a more equal standard of living following the divorce. The goal is for the party receiving spousal support to become self-supporting within a reasonable amount of time.
The good news is, as with most issues in a divorce, you and your spouse are free to settle the issue of alimony yourselves. You can decide how much spousal support will be and how long payments will be made. Often, if you cannot reach agreement on your own, you will be able to do so with the help of your attorney.
If you and your spouse are unable to agree on spousal support even with help, of course, the court will make a decision for you. If the court has to determine the details of spousal support, it will consider a number of factors set forth in California statute. These include the length of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage, the age and health of the parties, the marketable skills of the party requesting support, and other factors.
Typically, California courts award spousal support for around half the length of a marriage that lasted for less than ten years. So if you were married for eight years, you might expect to receive or pay alimony for about four years. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, however, and the court might award spousal support for a longer or shorter period depending on all the circumstances. In marriages longer than ten years, the court will not set a duration for spousal support. The party seeking to reduce or terminate spousal support at some future point would bear the burden of showing why doing so would be appropriate.
Attorney Kim Roberts concentrates her legal practice in California family law. She has over 30 years of experience representing California residents in legal matters. She has represented numerous clients in divorce and alimony cases, including modification and termination of spousal support. Kim understands how pressing financial worries can be during a divorce. Whenever possible, she will help you negotiate a fair resolution of your spousal support issues. When agreement cannot be reached, she is an effective litigator who knows the law and can advocate for you in court.
Roberts & Zatlin Family Law, located in Murrieta, serves clients in Temecula, Menifee, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County, Vista, San Diego, and throughout the Inland Valley. We invite you to contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs regarding alimony. We look forward to working with you.