People going through divorce need to know their rights and obligations regarding spousal support. Spousal support is gender-neutral, and you may either be on the receiving end or be required to pay alimony to your former spouse during or after the divorce. What exactly is alimony, and how much will you have to pay or be eligible to receive?
Spousal support, known as alimony, is a payment from one person to another during or after a divorce. In California, most judges use a standard formula when calculating support amounts. However, several factors are calculated by how much alimony you are entitled to receive or are responsible for paying.
There are three types of spousal support in California. Temporary, Rehabilitative, and Permanent spousal support. The court must consider the controlling statute 4320 when determining spousal support. However, the courts also have a tremendous amount of discretion on what influences how much support one receives.
Alimony support is required to help make the transition from a two-income household to a one-income household less overwhelming. While it may seem unfair, the goal is to help both parties be on as stable a financial foundation as soon as possible. Therefore, the court will determine spousal support after the establishment of child support.
We will help you understand the different types of alimony and how alimony is calculated in the state of California.
What Are The Three Different Types of Alimony?
1. Temporary Alimony
The purpose of temporary alimony support is to help the person with a lower-earning income with expenses and maintain a standard of living they are accustomed to until permanent support is determined and assets and debts are divided. Temporary alimony is paid while the divorce is pending. There is no expiration date, and there is no set time period for support.
2. Rehabilitative Alimony
Rehabilitative alimony is the most common type of spousal support and utilized when one person was the primary earner while the other person primarily cared for the children. The goal is to support the individual and allow time for them to gain essential job skills or education so that they may join the workforce and help themselves.
3. Permanent Alimony
The purpose of court-ordered permanent alimony support is to provide a sufficient income that will cover basic needs and standards that meet the spouse’s lifestyle receiving the support. Permanent support is generally reserved for marriages that lasted ten years or more or one person can not work due to age or illness.
Factors For Determining Temporary Alimony Support
There are four factors the courts look at for determining temporary alimony support in California:
Guidelines When Factoring Rehabilitative Or Permanent Alimony Amounts
- Duration of Marriage
- Assets and Debt responsibilities of each person, including properties
- Health and Age
- Standard of Living Established
- The ability for the individual receiving support to have sustainable employment
- History of domestic violence against either party or the children
- The ability of the Supporting Party to Pay Alimony
- The level which the supported party contributed to career, education, etc. by the spouse paying the alimony
- The earning capacity of each person
- Tax consequences to each person
- The goal is that the person receiving alimony will be self-supporting in a reasonable amount of time. Generally, this period is half the length of the marriage, but this is left up to the court’s discretion and may be longer or shorter based upon the factors listed.
- Criminal convictions In accordance with Section 4325, criminal conviction of an abusive spouse will be considered.
- The court may include other factors that deem just and equitable, and the court will consider these in determining the alimony support amount. (CA FAM 4320)
The general guideline for calculating alimony takes 35% to 40% of the higher-earning spouse’s income and subtracts 40% to 50% of the lower-earning spouse’s income. Depending on what county you live in, it will vary.
Consult An Attorney
Determining or modifying your spousal support payments can be a complex and confusing process. There are forms, documents, and court hearings to consider. Even if you and your spouse agree to the modification, consulting an attorney and ensuring you file the right paperwork is critical to your success.
At Azemika & Azemika, our law firm is exclusively devoted to the field of family law. We handle divorce cases, dissolution of domestic partnerships, child custody, visitation, child and spousal support, paternity, abandonment, and adoptions. Our partners at Azemika & Azemika will put their expertise to work for you and make sure your case is customized to your needs. Contact us today for your free case evaluation.