Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a financial payment made by one spouse to the other after a divorce or legal separation. The purpose of spousal support is to provide financial assistance to the spouse who is in a weaker financial position, typically the person who’s been out of the workforce or has lower earning potential.
If one spouse earns significantly more than the other, spousal support may be an issue if they divorce. Spousal support is a common topic when one partner gave up their career to stay at home to focus on the children and home. The role of spousal support in divorce has changed tremendously over the years, so you may be unsure whether or not it’s relevant in your divorce.
Take some time to find an Orange County spousal support attorney who can help you navigate your rights and options as you move forward. All of the firms listed here have been verified to be local to you and ready to help.
In the past, spousal support was a standard part of divorce. This was in a time when women were largely financially dependent on men and were traditionally left disadvantaged after divorce. Now, spousal support is only ordered when the circumstances of the marriage call for it. If the divorce is likely to leave one party at a significant disadvantage when it comes to maintaining their standard of living, spousal support may be on the table for discussion.
There are no hard and fast rules for spousal support, as the court has a lot of discretion in this area. However, the court generally starts with half the length of the marriage. The goal generally isn’t to support the lower-earning party for the rest of their life. The goal is to provide extra support as they gain the skills and education needed to support themselves. As a result, permanent alimony is very rare.
A number of factors come into play when deciding whether or not to order spousal support and how much to order. These factors include:
There are circumstances that may call for changing or ending spousal support. To start, spousal support ends when the receiving spouse remarries or when either party dies. However, the paying spouse may request a modification if they believe that circumstances have changed. This may occur if the paying spouse has had a significant decrease in income or increase in expenses. A modification may also be appropriate if the receiving party has increased their income to a point where they can be considered self-sufficient.
To get a spousal support modification in California, you will need to file a request with the court. The process for a modification of spousal support in California is as follows:
It’s important to note that the court will only consider a modification if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original order for spousal support was made, such as a change in income, health, or job status of either spouse.
Additionally, under California law, someone recently convicted of domestic abuse or sexual violence against their spouse cannot receive alimony. In most cases, someone recently convicted of a misdemeanor for a crime against their spouse will also not be able to receive spousal support.
Whether you think you’ll pay or receive alimony, or need to make modifications to an existing spousal support order make sure you protect yourself at every turn. Discuss your options with an attorney from our list of Orange County spousal support law firms.