Understanding Alimony in California

divorce adviceOne of the biggest areas of concern when going through a divorce is how much, and how long alimony will be awarded for. Alimony, also known as a spousal support award, is not a light decision. There are several factors that go into determining what the alimony payment will ultimately be when filing for divorce in California.

California divorce laws only require that a number of factors be taken in to consideration when determining what the total spousal support award will be. Due to the difficult and emotional nature of divorce, many people will agree to terms that may in the end be a financial burden upon themselves for the sake of an easy divorce process. It is important to understand the terms of alimony so that you are prepared to fight for the best possible solution the payer and payee if alimony is required.

The factors of Decided Alimony

The length of time for alimony payments is closely linked to the duration of the marriage. The ‘general rule of thumb’ is that alimony will last for one-half the length of the marriage. When it comes to lengthy marriage, those lasting ten or more years, a lifetime spousal support award may be granted at the end of the divorce process. It is considered an abuse of discretion to later try and change an end date for a decision like this.

When determining these two things, the length and amount of alimony, the court must take into account the following considerations:

  • What each person pays or can pay (including earnings and income capacity)
  • the skills of the supported party
  • what each person needs
  • whether having a job would hinder being able to properly take care of the child(ren)
  • whether one spouse contributed to the attainment of an education, career position or a license for the other
  • debts and property
  • the ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party
  • the age and health of the parties
  • the degree to which the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time
  • whether there was domestic abuse
  • other factors the court determines are just and equitable

There is no standard formula for any divorce proceeding when it comes to figuring out how much and how long alimony will be paid. Determining alimony is a complex process that you do not want to rush, especially if you are the paying party. Ensure that the most fair and less financially burdening settlement is found by contacting an experienced California divorce attorney.