Spousal support, often referred to as alimony, is the court-ordered obligation mandated by a judge for one person to provide his or her former spouse financial support. Not all divorcing parties are obligated to pay spousal support, and it is also not a requirement to receive spousal support. However, when spousal support is court-ordered, it then becomes the legal obligation for that assigned party to pay his or her former spouse.
California family law concerning spousal support is complex, and in order to protect your interests, it is important to understand what types of spousal support are available. The different categories of spousal support will have a significant role in determining the amount of support that is to be paid.
Types of Alimony Available in California
For the most part, there are two categories of alimony available in the State of California: Temporary support, and permanent support.
Temporary alimony has been designed to maintain both party’s status quo during divorce proceedings. Permanent spousal support refers to the financial aid that will be awarded once the divorce has been finalized and moving forward. Both of these categories are essential to the needs of the parties. As a result, both parties will be given careful considerations.
Determining Spousal Support
When assessing both parties, a family court judge will consider the following factors to make his or her decision: The finances of both parties, including their respective earning capacities; The marketable skills of the spouse seeking spousal support; The accustomed standard of living of both parties; Any contributions that have been made toward the supporting party’s education; and all financial assets, property, and debts of each individual party.
Modifications to a Court-Ordered Spousal Support
The biggest mistake a person who has been ordered to make alimony payments can make is ceasing payments because of the disagreement over the amount. When a judge orders a person to pay alimony, he or she is legally obligated to do so. Spousal support, however, can be modified at a later date when there have been significant changes to finances of the parties.
According to the California courts website, spousal support can be modified when it can be proven that there has been a change in circumstances since the order was made. There are a wide-range of reasons why spousal support may need to be modified. For example, the receiving party no longer needs the financial support, or the party making payments has had a substantial decrease in his or her income and can no longer afford payments.
The paying party can also ask the court to terminate the spousal support order when he or she believes that the receiving party is not making an effort to be self-supporting. In the event that the receiving party has remarried, the support will need to be terminated.
Speak to a Well-Versed Family Law Attorney
Parties who can agree to the new amount in a modification can make a stipulation or agreement for the changes and submit it to the judge for a signature. When an agreement cannot be reached, the party seeking the changes will need to file a motion with the family court for the modification.
If you are seeking a spousal support modification, speak to an attorney who can help you protect your interests. The family law attorneys at RM Law Group, LLP can guide you through the complex legal process of petitioning for a spousal support modification. Consider contacting the firm today.