Spousal Support Lawyers in Orange County, CA
When spouses divorce or separate, a court may order one spouse to pay the other a monthly amount as spousal support or alimony. The purpose of spousal support is to reduce any unfair financial impact that the lower-earning spouse may experience after a divorce.
Spousal support can vary on the amount and duration of award and the purpose for which it is being ordered. Alimony issues are often difficult and complicated. Consult an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand spousal support, calculate the amount you deserve, and prepare the legal forms for it.
Types of Spousal Support
In terms of the length of time that one party can receive support, alimony can be temporary or permanent. Temporary spousal support is usually paid to one party after separating but who is not yet legally divorced. A court can also order permanent alimony which means that the payee spouse will receive a certain monthly amount indefinitely or until he or she remarries.
A lump-sum spousal support can also take the place of a property settlement. This type of alimony will not be affected by the remarriage of the payee spouse. In some cases, the court may award rehabilitative alimony which shall be paid until the payee spouse becomes self-sufficient.
Factors in Spousal Support Orders
In California, the family court will consider several factors before arriving at a final spousal support or alimony order. These factors include:
- The age of the spouses
- The physical and financial condition of the spouses
- The earning capacity and abilities of the spouses
- The spouses’ standard of living while married
- The duration of the marriage
- Debts and property
- The ability of the payer spouse to support himself or herself
- Any history of domestic violence during the marriage
- Any impact that taking of the children may have had on the career of one spouse
- The help or support that one spouse provided to the other in obtaining education, training, or professional license
- The tax impact of spousal support
Importance of Date of Separation
An important and hotly contested issue in a divorce is the date of separation of the parties. This is because the duration of a marriage is a significant factor in arriving at the length or period of time that a payee spouse can continue receiving spousal support. And the length of a marriage is usually from the date that the couple got married until the date of separation.
Under the old rule, a couple is considered separated for purposes of divorce only when one party actually moves out or when both live separately. But starting on January 1, 2017, the date of separation is legally defined as the moment that the marital relationship suffers a complete and final break. This final break need not be physical or does not require that one spouse moves out of the family home to live separately.
The parties, however, must still provide evidence showing that on the alleged separation date, one spouse expressed their intent to the other spouse to end the marriage and that the behavior of the spouse is consistent or reflective of this intent to end the marriage. The court must consider all of the evidence before it can declare the divorcing couple’s date of separation.
If you are contemplating divorce or legal separation, it’s absolutely important to inform your family law attorney about your plans before making important decisions about your situation. Seemingly small details such as the date of separation can have lasting economic consequences for you and your family.
Changing Spousal Support
A final court order for spousal support is generally permanent in nature unless significant changes occur that may justify a modification in the amount of alimony that one party receives. A party whose situation has changed in the meantime whether due to unemployment and severe financial setbacks must still seek the court’s intervention for changing the terms of alimony or spousal support. Contact your attorney right away for immediate assistance; otherwise, the paying spouse will still owe the payee spouse the same amount of support.
Divorce can be extremely stressful when your finances are severely affected. In Mission Viejo, California, the family law attorneys at Landon Law understand the pain and challenges that families go through during a divorce. Our compassionate orange county divorce attorneys are prepared to help you seek the appropriate value of spousal support that you need in order to move on with your life. Call us today at (949) 257-5188 to learn more about how we can help you.