There is nothing unusual about a married couple that consists of one person
bringing in the majority or all of the income and the other spouse staying
at home or pursuing other avenues of entertainment. While this can keep
income straightforward during the marriage, it can form a complication during a
alimony or spousal support will likely be necessary. After all, without the breadwinner, the other
spouse will not be able to live comfortably or maintain his or her standard
Divorcing spouses can decide on how to set monthly alimony payments on
their own. This is, however, not typical and represents an ideal situation in an
uncontested divorce. For most couples in California, especially those with
highly valued marital assets, a family law court will need to make the final decision for determining
alimony. But how is this done?
Factors Courts Consider When Determining Alimony
The primary factor a family law court uses to set spousal support or spousal
maintenance is the actual duration of the marriage. In general, the longer
a marriage lasted, the greater amount of alimony the dependent spouse
will be rewarded. The duration of the alimony itself will also be altered
by the duration of the marriage. A brief marriage may only be granted
temporarily alimony that lasts for a few months; a marriage that lasted
for decades could be assigned permanent alimony that only ends after one
of the spouses pass away or the receiver remarries.
Other important factors the family law court will weigh include:
Health: The court will consider the overall health of each spouse. An aged, unhealthy,
or terminally ill spouse will find it difficult to support themselves,
and will likely receive more alimony.
Educational support: If the spouse that provided the majority of the income put some of that
towards furthering the education of the other spouse, alimony payments
might be kept at a minimum, as it implies the receiving spouse should
be able to more easily complete an education or find gainful employment.
Debts and other obligations: Each spouse will have financial needs that cannot be ignored, such as debts
to banks and creditors. An alimony plan will not be created that adds
undue duress on these obligations.
Incomes: Of course, the court will review the incomes of each spouse, usually dating
back at least two years. This will provide the groundwork for the alimony
decision when other factors are not as pressing.
Asset division: Sometimes alimony is offset by how the marital assets were divided. For
example, a spouse that receives the marital home but makes no income might
receive minimal alimony due to the inherent value and convenience of keeping the home.
Domestic violence: California family law courts can penalize a spouse convicted of domestic
violence by increasing alimony amounts paid to the abused spouse, or decreasing
how much the abused spouse pays. This is, in a way, a form of restitution.
Creating & Enforcing Alimony with Our Help
Ready to explore your alimony options in your divorce? Stolar & Associates,
A Professional Law Corporation can provide you with Beverly Hills divorce
attorneys that understand and appreciate you and your unique situation.
You will see that in everything we do, our clients’ best interests
are kept in focus.
Call 310.984.1411 to schedule a consultation.