In the event of a California divorce, it’s not uncommon for one person in the marriage to have a higher income than the other. In these cases, it’s likely that the court will order the highest-earning person in the marriage to pay the other spousal support.
No matter how long the marriage lasted for or how civil both parties are behaving in the divorce, the topic of spousal support is touchy and can be one of the most heated aspects of a divorce trial. In a divorce proceeding, it helps to have an attorney that understands how California spousal support laws impact your situation and will aggressively represent your rights in court.
What is Spousal Support aka “Alimony”?
Many people are unsure of the difference between spousal support and alimony. These terms are used interchangeably. Spousal support and alimony both refer to the amount awarded by the court for one of the former spouses to pay the other former spouse. The purpose of paying spousal support is to lessen unfair economic effects that the divorce will have on the lower-earning spouse and to maintain the marital standard of living.
Oftentimes, the spouse earning less has made the decision to not pursue a career based on the need to support the family in a marriage. “Alimony” is meant to reduce hardships while the spouse learns to support himself or herself. The spousal support may also be awarded to allow the spouse to continue the standard of living they became accustomed to while the two were a couple.
Sometimes the former spouses are able to agree to an amount themselves and other times the court will determine the amount. Either way, a skilled divorce attorney can help you navigate the legal process and negotiate the alimony amount.
How is Spousal Support Calculated in San Bernardino County?
The court will look at multiple factors when determining the amount of spousal support that will be awarded in a divorce case. Each case is unique, and the guidelines for establishing a spousal support order are not the same as a child support order. Here are some of the factors that the court will look at when deciding on a figure for alimony:
- The standard of living that the couple had while married
- The duration of the marriage
- The length of time that would be required for the lower-earning spouse to become self-sufficient
- The emotional and physical condition of the spouses
- The age of the spouses
- The financial condition of the spouses
- The capability of the higher-earning spouse to support the lower-earning spouse while still sufficiently supporting herself or himself
The support can be ordered to end at a specific time when the low-earning spouse will likely be able to support themselves. If no end date is specified, then the spousal support payments will continue until the court orders that they stop.
How Can an Attorney Help me with my Spousal Support Case in California?
A San Bernardino spousal support attorney can help you with all legal aspects of your divorce, including alimony. If you think you should be receiving or paying spousal support, then it is in your best interest to discuss the topic with a skilled family law attorney. The experienced lawyers at RM Law Group LLP in San Bernardino and Ontario, California offer honest legal advice for those going through a divorce. Call (909) 453-2707 to schedule your risk-free consultation today!