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Understanding Spousal Support Laws in California

California law recognizes a mutual responsibility between spouses. This means both parties of a marriage are responsible for the financial well-being of each other. In many cases, one spouse is the primary earner for the family, while the other carries other responsibilities. In the event of the divorce, this spouse may have the right to seek spousal support, also called alimony.

Alimony is designed to provide the same lifestyle for each spouse that they enjoyed during marriage. If you’re seeking alimony or need help getting a fair support agreement, the Beverly Hills spousal support attorneys at Stolar & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation can help. With more than 30 years of legal experience behind us, we’re confident in our ability to provide the direction you need.

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How Is Alimony Determined?

When determining the amount and duration of spousal support, the court reviews a number of factors. Specifically listed in Section 4320 of the Family Code, these factors include the earning capacity of each spouse, including marketable skills, the job market, and whether training or education could improve a spouse's earning capacity. That being said, alimony orders are left to the broad discretion of the court, which is why retaining skilled legal representation is so essential. Our caring legal team has extensive experience in negotiating alimony orders. As our client, you can rest assured in knowing that we will work tirelessly in order to secure the spousal support you need and protect your best interests.

Besides the length of the marriage, other factors the court will consider when determining permanent or temporary spousal support include:

  • The health and age of each spouse
  • The extent to which one spouse supported the other spouse in obtaining a higher education, advanced degree, or career position
  • The ability of the paying spouse to provide financial support to the other spouse
  • The needs of both parties, including debts and other obligations
  • Evidence of domestic violence
  • Potential tax issues
  • Willingness to prepare for a new occupation
  • Balancing factors related to the division of marital assets

The Different Types of Alimony

California law does not specifically describe the types of alimony. The type of alimony that is appropriate for you will depend on the specific facts in your case. Every situation is different. Our attorneys will carefully evaluate your needs and your situation. We will then work to pursue a fair and equitable divorce settlement that protects your present and future interests.

In general, spousal support falls into two categories:

  • Temporary Alimony - Temporary alimony can be used to provide short-term support to a spouse during or after the divorce. This can help the supported spouse get the assistance he or she needs to go back to school or find a new place to live.
  • Permanent Alimony - Permanent alimony is generally reserved for those situations where a couple has been married for a significant period of time and one spouse is dependent on the other. For example, if a couple has been married for 35 years and one spouse did not work, permanent alimony may be appropriate to maintain the standard of living.

Need to Enforce or Modify a Spousal Support Order in CA?

In California, you can modify spousal support or change alimony payments if there has been a change in circumstances. This may include long-term unemployment, remarriage, or other factors that require the modification of alimony. You can also modify alimony if child support is terminated. However, there is a limited time to file this type of modification. At our firm, we can help you determine if a modification is needed and guide you through the process of obtaining a modification. We also represent clients who are contesting a modification.

Talk to Our Skilled Beverly Hills Spousal Support Lawyers

Under California law, spousal support is based on the ability of each party to maintain the standard of living that was established during the marriage. Looking at a number of factors, the court will determine if one party is in need of financial support, how much the support should be, and how long the support should last. Determining alimony is an important step in the divorce process for many couples. Our Beverly Hills divorce attorneys at Stolar & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation can help you understand California's alimony laws and how they will apply in your case.

For the answers you need to all your alimony-related questions,
please call us.

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