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Alimony: Records You Should Keep After Divorce

Alimony, sometimes called spousal support, are payments made from the the higher earning spouse to the lower earning spouse after divorce. Alimony is not always awarded in a divorce, courts today are trending away from it, but alimony is typically granted when one spouse earns significantly more than the other spouse, or that spouse has been out of the workforce for a period of time. It’s purpose is to allow the lower earning spouse to maintain their same standard of living while they work on becoming self-supporting. You and your spouse can agree on the amount of alimony and the length of time alimony will be paid. If you cannot agree, you can go to trial to settle the matter. If you are ordered to pay alimony, you are usually ordered to make monthly payments until: a date set by a judge several years in the future your former spouse remarries the judge determines that after a reasonable period of time, your spouse has not made reasonable efforts to become self supporting your children no longer need a full-time parent at home a significant event such as retirement occurs, which convinces a judge to modify the amount paid one of you dies. Alimony is tax-deductible for the person paying it, and is considered taxable income for the person receiving it. For this reason, it is very important to keep sufficient records, whether you are paying or receiving alimony. It is common for there to be disputes between the spouses about amounts paid or received, or sometimes the IRS challenges their claims. Without documentation of payments made and received, the...
Common Divorce Threats and What to Do About Them

Common Divorce Threats and What to Do About Them

During a divorce, tensions are running high, and it’s inevitable that you and your spouse will have disagreement. With so much built up animosity it’s common for a spouse to hurl accusations and threats at the other. Hearing threats can be very stressful and frightening; however, you should know that your spouses threats are empty until they are validated by an attorney. Often, a spouse will sling threats with little knowledge of how the law actually works. If your spouse threatens you, consult your attorney right away. To help ease your stress, below is a list of ten of the most common threats made by a spouse during a divorce, and the reasons why these threats are empty. “I’ll tell the court ____ and you won’t get the kids.” Threats about custody are extremely common, and more importantly, are usually unfounded. If a spouse is making threats like this, chances are they are not fit to have custody, and are simply trying to frighten you. Don’t worry about a spouse revealing aspects of your personal life to make you seem unfit. More often than not, the elements of your personal life they want to “reveal” has no bearing on your ability to be a parent. “Do what I say, or you won’t get my money.” Again, people who make this kind of threat often have no idea how the law works, and they are used to always getting their way. Regardless of what they want to happen, issues of money are decided by the court– not the spouse. “You can’t take my money.” California functions under a communal property...
Divorce – How do I protect my rights?

Divorce – How do I protect my rights?

If you are thinking about divorce, it might be a good idea to understand what your legal rights are during the procedure. Protecting your legal rights can ensure that you are on-track to possibly acquire what you want from your divorce. Whenever possible, make a good faith attempt to work things out, and always weigh the consequences of your actions. The following suggestions are intended for situations where a divorce is likely to become adversarial: If you have children, moving out too soon may impact custody later. However, if staying will cause tension between you and you and your spouse, try to minimize friction. Consider time-sharing the family home with your spouse until custody and divorce issues are worked out. Your spouse has no more right to take the children from their family home than you do. If you and your spouse cannot agree on divorce issues, contact an experienced family attorney to represent you. Cancel all jointly-owned credit cards because if the card remains jointly-owned during this process, you and your spouse will be equally responsible for any debt incurred. Safeguard all personal papers and make copies of important records, such as birth certificates, bank statements, real estate records, titles, deeds, tax returns, etc. Make a record of all marital property by video recording, if possible. Secure valuable personal property, such as a stamp or coin collection. Reduce unnecessary expenses immediately. Cancel unneeded utilities, such as cable TV, extra phone lines. If there is domestic violence, call the police immediately and request a restraining order. If you are considering divorce, consult with an attorney to find out your...
Divorce and Bankruptcy

Divorce and Bankruptcy

Finances and debt can get very messy during a divorce. Money is the number one stress factor in many relationships. A recent study of 4500 couples has shown that there is a very strong link between financial disagreements and divorce. Of all factors that can contribute to a divorce, money is by far the most powerful. Couples that argue over finances tend to argue more longer and more intensely, resort to harsher language, and remember the bitterness and resentment much longer, and these sort of arguments tend to dramatically reduce relationship satisfaction and increase stress on the couple and any children they may have. While this trend is true across all income levels, the risk of money arguments increases as finances dwindle, and the anger and frustration of financial arguments can become even more intense when a couple is facing bankruptcy. To further complicate matters, the anger and stress of this kind of argument makes couples less likely to collaborate on financial planning and more likely to focus on the short term instead of trying to secure their future, perpetuating a vicious cycle of money trouble, stress, and intense argument, causing the marriage to fall apart under the strain. Income, Marriage, and Bankruptcy Qualifications Both spouses are responsible for the debts incurred during the time of the marriage. Your divorce settlement will divide up the debts, assigning responsibility for some to one spouse and some to the other. But that divorce settlement is between you and your ex-spouse; it doesn’t bind the creditor, who can collect the debt from either one of you.  If your ex files for bankruptcy after the...

How Is Spousal Support Determined?

When a couple divorces, the court may order one spouse to pay the other a certain amount of support money each month. Immediately after separation, a spouse can ask for support. This is referred to as temporary spousal support. It is utilized to maintain the living conditions and standards of the parties in as close to the status quo position as possible pending trial and the division of their assets and obligations. The court may use guidelines when fashioning an award of temporary spousal support. It can also be ordered once the divorce becomes final, as part of the final divorce judgment. The purpose of permanent spousal support is not to preserve the pre-separation status quo, but to provide financial assistance as determined by the financial circumstances of the parties after the divorce and division of their community property Unlike child support, awarding permanent spousal support requires review of many different factors. At this time, the judge considers the factors specified in California Family Code Section 4320. These include, but are not limited to: The length of the marriage Each person’s individual needs, based on the standard of living they had during the marriage What each person can afford to pay Earning capacity The age and health of each party Whether having a job would make it difficult to care for the minor children History of domestic violence How long should long-term spousal support last? In marriages of ten years or longer, the court often maintains jurisdiction to modify support indefinitely. Support ends on death or remarriage. According to Family Code Section 4336, shorter term marriages often have orders...