Protecting your rights in court-ordered obligations
Understanding spousal support, commonly called alimony, can be complicated. Unlike child support, there is no official calculator to use when determining spousal support payment amounts, and judges have wide discretion in these situations.
In the aftermath of a marriage, one party may find themselves in a less than desirable financial situation. This happens particularly when one spouse was economically dependent on the other during the course of a marriage. A variety of factors will be taken into consideration when determining how much spousal support will be paid. This can include:
- The duration of the marriage
- How much education each spouse has
- The financial and living situation of both parties
- The lifestyle that both parties were used to during the marriage
Different types of spousal support in California
- Temporary Alimony could be ordered to be paid only while the divorce is ongoing. This type of alimony will transition to another type of alimony or stop altogether when the divorce is finalized.
- Rehabilitative Alimony could be required to help the spouse of lesser means transition to a self-sustaining career and could include paying for vocational or college classes. Typically, rehabilitative alimony ends after a specified amount of time.
- Permanent Alimony is a form of spousal maintenance that is typically paid on a monthly basis. This type of alimony is much more likely to be required for marriages that lasted 10 years or more and will end if the receiving spouse remarries or if either spouse dies.
- Lump-Sum Alimony means that a larger, one-time payment is made to the spouse of lesser means in lieu of monthly payments.
As the lives of both spouses change after the divorce, it may be necessary to modify the type and amount of alimony paid. This could be due to job or income losses/increases or a change in the living situation of one or both spouses. Modifications must be petitioned for through the California family court system.
Do Premarital Agreements Make a Difference?
While you never expected to be going through a divorce, you may have prepared for one before signing marriage documents. Premarital agreements are set in place to protect everyone involved. This is especially true if either party has substantial assets they are bringing into the marriage or a previous marriage.
A premarital agreement can help speed the divorce process and lay the groundwork for the divorce decree if a divorce happens. Keep in mind that a prenup does not cover the issue of child custody or child support and instead focuses on property and other assets. It is also important to note that both parties need to agree to a prenuptial agreement to be valid. A prenuptial agreement can also be modified and even revoked later if both parties agree.
The goal of a prenuptial agreement is never to need it but to have it if you do. A Westlake Village spousal support attorney can look at your current prenup and determine its effect on your divorce settlement. They can also help you establish a prenup before your marriage becomes official. All parties involved must be protected should the marriage fail.
Modifications to Spousal Support
As your life changes, you may need to undergo spousal support modifications. This is true for either party undergoing life changes. It will also depend on the kind of support initially agreed upon, as this can make an enormous difference in how the modification process will go. Proper negotiations during the divorce process may also outline what happens during specific life changes.
Even if they were not outlined, you would still need a Westlake Village spousal support attorney by your side to ensure that these new circumstances are treated with care. There are other modifications that you may require when life changes occur, such as:
- Child custody and visitation are typically seen when relocating, or living arrangements have changed drastically. This can also be due to substance abuse or physical harm from the parent to the child.
- Child support payment amounts: if there is an income change of at least 20%, whether it is more or less than the previous income, a modification may be necessary. This is not a hard rule, and you can request a modification for a smaller change in income.
As you can see, significant life changes can affect more than just spousal support payments. This is why it is essential to meet with a Westlake Village spousal support attorney from the Law Offices of Ronald K.Stitch to discuss your options.
Does Adultery Play a Role in Spousal Support?
In California, spousal support is not determined based on adultery. This means that even if one spouse was unfaithful, they could not be punished financially in a divorce settlement. Other factors can play a role in spousal support and should be discussed with a Westlake Village, spousal support attorney.
Let us ensure you are treated fairly
If you are going through a divorce, there is a chance spousal maintenance will be required. Maybe you should be receiving alimony. You may be required to pay alimony to your former spouse. Regardless of the situation, you should be treated fairly by the court. At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, our Westlake Village spousal support attorneys are here to help. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling 818-237-4574.