What You May Be Ordered to Pay or Expect to Receive from Your Ex
If you planning to file for divorce, or are in the process of getting a divorce, one of the key issues that will need to be resolved during the proceedings is spousal support (sometimes referred to as alimony). In California, a judge will assess spousal support based upon a myriad of factors, including the amount of time you and your spouse were married, your relative incomes, and so forth.
In most instances, there are four key elements considered by a judge when analyzing spousal support:
- Length of the marriage;
- Possibility of ongoing or lump sum spousal support;
- Potential tax implications of the support award, and
- The legal requirement that the supported party take reasonable steps to become self-supporting.
Length of Marriage
Under California law, spousal support is impacted by the amount of time you and your spouse were married. For example, a good rule of thumb used by many California judges is that spousal support will last for half the length of a marriage when you and your spouses were married for less than 10 years. If, on the other hand, you were married for 10 years or longer, a California judge typically does not place a limit on time that spousal support will be provided.
Pendente Lite (i.e. Temporary) Spousal Support
Pendente lite is Latin for “during litigation” and basically means that a judge is empowered to enter an order granting temporary support before the divorcing couple has reached an agreement on a reasonable long-term support arrangement. California allows for temporary spousal support to assist both spouses in maintaining the «status quo» in their respective standard of living.
Long-Term Spousal Support
Long-term or permanent spousal support is the term for a support order agreed to by both you and your spouse as part of the final resolution of your divorce. As the name implies, the long-term support order is intended to last indefinitely (if you were married for 10 years or longer), but can be modified if you or your ex-spouse’s financial circumstances change dramatically.
Factors that Could Result in Loss, or Reduction, in Spousal Support
Under California law, courts recognize that circumstances may fluctuate and support orders may need to be modified based on those circumstances. For example, if you suddenly lose your job, it may impact the higher wage earner’s ability to support their ex-spouse.
If you are paying support to your ex-spouse and they subsequently remarry, a judge could modify the support order and possibly alleviate you of your financial obligations. The same modification could occur if your ex-spouse suddenly inherits a large sum of money.
Periodic Payments vs. Lump Sum Buyout
You and your spouse are empowered to negotiate a support agreement. One option that is available is to reach an agreement on monthly, periodic payments or for a single, lump sum to be paid out when the divorce is finalized. To get a proper assessment of the type of spousal support that is most advantageous to you, it makes sense to sit down and speak with an experienced and knowledgeable Novato spousal support lawyer.
Have Questions About Your Rights and Obligations Related to Spousal Support? Contact an Experienced Novato Divorce Lawyer
If you are contemplating getting divorced, or are in the process of getting divorced, and need help assessing your rights and/or obligations for spousal support, Castro Law Offices is here to help. We are a reputable California law firm focusing in family law and domestic relations, including the complex issues associated with spousal support. Castro Law Offices is based in Novato, California, but is ready and able to provide legal services and advice to clients in and around Marin County including Novato, San Rafael, Greenbrae, San Anselmo, Fairfax, Sausalito, Larkspur, West Marin, Ross, Mill Valley and Corte Madera. Contact Castro Law Offices today to schedule a confidential consultation.