Facts about Alimony in California

Alimony in California

When creating a life together as a married couple, it is common for one spouse to earn more in his or her employment while the other may have a lower paying job or even stay at home raising the children. When a marriage ends, it may affect the spouse who made sacrifices to further their education and career to support their spouse who earned more money and the family. In these cases, the spouse who would take the biggest hit in changing his or her lifestyle, often the lower income spouse, may be entitled to alimony in California, also known as “spousal support.”

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How Long Do I Receive Spousal Support or Alimony in California?

The length of the marriage often determines the length of award for spousal support. For example, in a marriage, less than 10 years, alimony in California is typically not ordered for longer than half the length of the marriage. In a long term marriage of ten or more years, a specific termination date for support may not be appropriate. So long as the court retains jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support, either spouse may request a modification or change to spousal support.

What Determines Spousal Support in California?

Pursuant to the California Family Code the court is required to consider several factors when making a spousal support award. The court considers the following:

  1. Earning capacity as well as potential income of both parties.
  2. Ability to maintain their marital standard of living

Other factors considered by the court when determining alimony in California are as follows:

  • Marketable skills of the supported spouse
  • Whether the job market is good/poor for these skills
  • Will that spouse’s standard of living be an equal or similar standard of living that they had before the divorce?
  • The time the supported spouse spent taking care of domestic duties, (such as raising the children instead of being employed)
  • The assets debts of both spouses.
  • The paying spouse’s ability to pay support.
  • The length of the marriage, and the age and health of each spouse
  • Whether the supported spouse contributed to the other’s career (such as his or her training, education, license) and to what extent.

What about Adultery Infidelity?

California is a no-fault state. As such, infidelity has no bearing on an award of spousal support.

Remarriage and Alimony?

Spousal support orders typically provide that support will continue until a date certain, death of either party or remarriage of the supported spouse. When the supported spouse remarries, there is a presumption that the party has a reduced need for spousal support.

How Do Taxes Affect Alimony in California?

If working together, most couples are able to create their own agreement that gives both of them an advantage for tax scenarios. Spousal support payments are usually taxable to the recipient and tax-deductible for the paying spouse.

Ask a California Divorce Attorney

The Law Office of Ann A. Thomson  (Seal Beach family law attorney) specializes in family law and assists clients with their divorce, annulments, child custody, and more in Orange County. Ann also serves clients throughout Southern California. Call her today at 562-431-4333 or contact her online to schedule a free initial consultation.