Domestic violence is a serious issue affecting millions of people annually in the United States. Statistics show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Domestic violence can significantly impact many aspects of a victim’s life, including their ability to receive alimony in California.
California is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning a spouse doesn’t have to prove the other spouse did anything wrong to file for divorce. Because of this, the court will not consider who was at fault for the divorce. So even if domestic violence occurred, they would still split all assets and debts evenly.
The major exception is when it comes to issuing alimony. This article will explain how alimony works in California and how domestic violence can affect alimony.
What is Domestic Violence in California?
In California, domestic violence is defined as abuse or threats of abuse between spouses, former spouses, cohabitants, and a couple in a dating relationship. Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse.
What is Alimony?
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a court-ordered payment made from one spouse to another after a divorce. Spousal support provides financial assistance to the lower-earning spouse and helps them maintain the same standard of living they had during the marriage. The court will consider the following factors of each spouse when awarding alimony.
- Length of the marriage
- Overall health and age
- Non-financial contributions
- Current income
- Earning potential
- Education and training
- Work history
- Marketable skills
The court will also look at the ability of the paying spouse to provide alimony, and whether there is evidence of domestic violence. When domestic violence is involved, the court is required by law to consider any documented evidence of domestic violence when making an alimony determination. And they will never order a spouse to pay alimony to an abuser. (California Family Law Section 4320(i))
The Impact of Domestic Violence on Alimony in California
When domestic violence is a factor in a divorce, the court will consider several factors when determining spousal support. These factors include:
- The severity and duration of the abuse
- The impact of the abuse on the victim’s physical and emotional well-being
- The victim’s ability to earn a living.
If a domestic violence victims cannot work due to the abuse, they may be awarded spousal support to help them get back on their feet. The court may also order the abuser to pay for any medical bills or therapy expenses related to the abuse.
In addition to affecting the amount of spousal support awarded, domestic violence can also impact the duration of spousal support. As mentioned above, alimony is determined by considering multiple factors. However, when domestic violence is involved, the court may order spousal support to be paid for an extended period.
This is because domestic violence can impact a victim’s ability to earn a living and maintain their standard of living. The court may also order spousal support to be paid indefinitely if the victim cannot become self-supporting due to the abuse.
False Allegations of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence allegations are taken very seriously, and false allegations can have serious consequences. For example, there can be legal and financial consequences if someone has been found to have made a false allegation of domestic violence to gain an advantage in divorce or custody cases.
Azemika & Azemika, Family Law Attorneys in Kern County
Domestic violence can have a significant impact on alimony in California. The court takes allegations of domestic violence very seriously, and it is crucial to seek legal guidance if you are a victim or an abuser facing allegations. Domestic violence can affect both the amount and duration of spousal support, and in some cases, the court may even deny spousal support to an abusive spouse.
Suppose you are a victim of domestic violence and are seeking spousal support. In that case, it is essential to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the legal process. In addition, a family law attorney can help you gather evidence of the abuse, file for a restraining order if necessary, and ensure your rights are protected throughout the divorce process.
If you are an abuser facing allegations of domestic violence, it is essential to speak with an attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. An attorney can also help you address any issues related to domestic violence, such as attending counseling or anger management classes.
If you’re going through a divorce and are a victim of domestic violence or have been accused of domestic violence, turn to the expert team of family law attorneys at Azemika & Azemika. We will fight for you and protect you and your family during the separation and divorce.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.