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How is Alimony Determined in California?

Aug. 23, 2013

Are you looking to file for divorce here in California? If so, you may need to resolve the issue of spousal support when creating your divorce agreement. Many people are unfamiliar with the California family court system and how they determine the alimony payments. Before resolving this issue of spousal support, it is always helpful to understand how the court goes about calculating the amount of court-ordered support. The system to calculate alimony is based on a number of different influencing factors and the court takes it on a case-by-case basis.

If you are believe that you are paying too much in support or you feel that you aren't receiving enough support from your former spouse, be sure to speak with a Pasadena divorce attorney from our firm today.

Factors That are Taken Into Consideration

First off, if you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement on your own regarding alimony payments, you can submit a proposed divorce agreement to the court for approval. However, if you are not able to reach an amicable compromise, then the court will resolve this matter for you. As the court examines your case, they will take several different circumstances into consideration, including:

  • The earning capacity of each party and whether or not they make enough on their own to maintain the same standard of living that was attained throughout the duration of the marriage

  • Whether each party has marketable skills and how much time it could take for them to find a job using those particular skills. They will also look to see how much training and education would be needed for a particular party to attain marketable skills for a job

  • How much effort the non-supporting party put in and contributed in regards to the education, licenses and the career of the supporting party

  • How long the supporting party worked to support the other party so that they could stay home and perform domestic duties

  • What the earning capacity is for the supporting party and whether or not they are capable of paying spousal support. In order to properly evaluate this, the court will look at all their assets and their standard of living

  • The financial needs of each party to attain a certain standard of living

  • The community assets and separate property of each spouse

  • How long the couple was married

  • Whether or not the supported party can earn a position of gainful employment without hindering or neglecting any dependent children

  • The age of each party, as well as their mental and physical health

  • Whether or not there is any history of domestic violence between the spouses

  • What the tax consequences and other hardships will be for each party as a result of the divorce

  • Whether or not the supported party will be able to support themselves within a reasonable amount of time

Determining How Long Alimony Must Be Paid

It is important to remember that the court has full discretion when it comes to determining the duration of time that the spousal support will be paid. However, there are certain guidelines that they tend to follow. With marriages that lasted less than 10 years, the court will typically order the supporting party to make payments for half the duration of the length of the marriage. For example, if the marriage lasted only eight years, then the court may order them to pay alimony for up to four years. If you are getting a divorce and you would like legal assistance with the issue of alimony, then contact the Law Office of Fritzie Galliani, APC today for the help you need.