In California, what is commonly referred to as alimony is called spousal support. These terms refer to court-ordered monthly payments from one divorcing spouse to the other for a specific period of time.
In many cases, whether spousal support is available can make or break the decision to get divorced. A spouse may not want to leave a marriage if alimony will not be ordered.
Alimony is a complex area of family law. There are issues surrounding whether it is available, how much will likely be ordered, and how it will affect both parties’ taxes.
History of Alimony
People often have outdated notions on the definition of spousal support. Spousal support was implemented as a way for non-breadwinners (typically women) to be supported financially once the marriage had ended. Spousal support was also meant to provide a way for a spouse to receive training or education that would allow her to support herself.
Years ago, it was almost unheard of for women to work outside the home. Thus, spousal support would be ordered more commonly. However, today many more women work. Additionally, in some cases, husbands stay home to care for children. Where both parties have full-time employment, spousal support is much less likely to be ordered.
Factors a Court Will Evaluate in Spousal Support Actions
The law provides for alimony when needed to “maintain the standard of living established during the marriage.” Court are instructed to look at a number of factors, including:
The skills of the supported party, the marketability of those skills, and the need for further education or re-training of those skills;The extent to which the supported party’s devotion to domestic duties interfered with earning capacity;The extent to which the supported party contributed to the supporting party’s attainment of education or certification;The ability of the higher wage earner to pay;The debts and assets of each spouse;The length of the marriage;The health and age of the spouses;Evidence of domestic violence;Tax consequences; andAny other just and equitable circumstances.
How Long Will Alimony Last?
Under California law, a court will typically order spousal support for half of the length of the marriage if the marriage lasted less than 10 years. If the marriage was longer than 10 years, the length of time is up to the court. However, permanent alimony is rare.
Contact a San Jose Spousal Support Lawyer
If you have questions about whether alimony could be ordered in your divorce, you should seek legal counsel. We represent supporting and supported spouses in such matters.
The skilled San Jose, CA alimony attorney at Dominion Law Group, LLP can help you determine what spousal support arrangements may be proper in your case. Our firm can be reached at 408-288-5592.