We Can Make Sure Your Spousal Support is Fair
When a marriage ends, it can be difficult and stressful for everyone involved. One of the greatest stresses that occurs is the splitting of finances – when two people have been pooling their income over the course of their marriage, determining what belongs to whom can be a tricky and complicated proceedure. Oftentimes one half of the marriage will earn significantly less money each month than the other – perhaps because one partner is the breadwinner, and the other is the stay-at-home parent, or perhaps because one partner has a higher level of education and earning potential than the other. In such a case, divorce proceedings may include an order of spousal support.
What factors are taken into consideration when determining alimony?
If the loss of one spouse’s income is so great to the other partner that they can no longer maintain their current standard of living, a judge may issue an order of spousal support. Usually this order mandates a monthly payment from spouse to the other, determined by a formula that takes into account several factors, including:
- The length of the marriage
- The standards of living set during the marriage
- The earnings and/or earning capacity of each partner
- The age and health of each partner
- Debts and property
- Child custody
- Whether or not childcare makes full-time work feasible
- Whether one spouse helped further the education or career of the other
- Whether one spouse’s career or education was adversely affected by unemployment or child care during the marriage
- Additional tax burdens accrued with an order of spousal support.
- Any history of domestic violence, including criminal convictions
Taking all of these issues into account, as well as the incomes and holdings of each spouse, the judge will decide whether or not a spousal support order is appropriate, and calculate the value to be paid from one spouse to the other. Once this order is in place, it is a part of the divorce agreement and a legally binding court order, enforceable until its end date or until the court decides to end it. Falling behind in support payments can result in interest charges of 10% per anum and a garnishment of wages, and if the judge finds one partner is capable of paying but refuses to do so, then that may result in charges of contempt of court, which includes other, harsher penalties.
Understanding when and how spousal support will be a part of your divorce proceedings is extremely important. Having the expertise and experience of a veteran California family law attorney is invaluable in making sure your rights are being respected. Call our offices today for a free consultation, and we’ll discuss with you how spousal support will affect your case.