How to End Spousal Support in California

How to End Spousal Support in California Fresno Alimony AttorneySpouses ordered to pay spousal support are often understandably resentful of the court-ordered obligation. After all, a significant portion of their earnings is going to their ex-spouse. But are there ways to end spousal support? Below, we examine when and how to end spousal support in California, and what factors the court will consider.

Is There a Valid Reason for Spousal Support to Continue?

Alimony serves some legitimate purposes. It’s unreasonable for a high-earning spouse to exist a marriage and leave the other low-earning spouse suddenly financially responsible for the entire family or themselves. During the marriage, spouses agree to a division of responsibility within the home. Typically, one spouse works more to provide for the family financially, while the other spouse may only work part time or not all all in order to tend to day to day needs of the home.

That said, things get murky when the low-earning spouse refuses to work though they possess the ability and opportunity to do so. In such cases, spousal support could seem like a reward for the lazy spouse. Whether the other spouse is lying about their income or willfully unemployed, there are valid reasons for ending spousal support.

How to End Spousal Support in California in Short-Term Marriages

A short-term marriage is usually defined as a marriage that lasts for less than ten years, from date of marriage to date of separation. In most short-term marriages, the duration of spousal support should last exactly one-half the length of the total marriage. For instance, in marriages of eight years, spousal support would not last for more than four years. But keep in mind that the one-half rule is not set in stone, and is more of a general principle than a strict rule.

You may end spousal support earlier if your ex-spouse’s income increases or if their need for support decreases. In addition, you can request spousal support to end if your income or ability to pay decreases.

Other external situations may call for the termination of spousal support:

  • Decrease in the living expenses of your ex-spouse.
  • Your ex-spouse receives an influx of money, like an inheritance.
  • Your ex-spouse cohabits with a non-marital partner.
  • Increase in your living expenses.

How to End Spousal Support in California in Long-Term Marriages

In the past ten years or so, California’s laws for spousal support for long-term marriages (usually ten or more years long) have become more more relaxed. It’s no longer the case where a long-term marriage meant a lifetime of spousal support for the higher-earning spouse. In fact, much of what we discussed above also now applies to long-term marriages as well.

From our experience, shorter long-term marriages still typically follow the one-half duration principle for spousal support. For instance, the court more than likely will follow the one-half principle for a ten year long marriage, which means five years of spousal support. Though longer long-term marriages are more complicated regarding spousal support length, you don’t need to fear paying support for the rest of your life.

Speak to a Fresno Alimony Attorney Today

To learn more about how to end spousal support in California, contact a Fresno alimony attorney at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.

Understanding How Temporary Spousal Support in California Works

Temporary Spousal Support in California Fresno Alimony AttorneyTemporary spousal support is an order that comes during divorce proceedings and ends once divorce terms are agreed upon. California law allows the court to order a spouse to “pay any amount that is necessary” based on the supporting spouse’s income and the supported spouse’s needs. The goal is to maintain the standard of living both parties have been accustomed to before the separation occurred. But how does temporary spousal support in California work?

Alimony issues can be complicated, and the court considers many factors before granting or denying said support, as well as the actual amount paid. We’ll examine those factors below.

How Does the Court Calculate Temporary Spousal Support in California?

In California, calculating the amount of temporary spousal support paid relies on three main factors:

  • First, the court will examine the gross monthly income of both you and your spouse. Income adjustments such as child support, taxes, and union dues, are taken into consideration when determining incomes.
  • Second, the court will look at you and your spouse’s tax-filing statuses, such as head of household, single, married and filing jointly or married and filing separately.
  • Lastly, the court will then use the provided numbers to calculate the amount through the “Santa Clara County Guideline.” While you should note that using these factors aren’t necessarily final, they will give you a good idea of what you can expect a judge to decide.

In order to get the most accurate estimate of temporary spousal support, speak to an experienced Fresno alimony attorney.

When Will the Court Deny Temporary Spousal Support?

Under California law, the court may deny temporary spousal support if one of the following factors is determined. The spouse requesting support:

  • Holds adequate separate property
  • Earns their own livelihood
  • Possesses sufficient community property
  • Is not awarded child custody

Your attorney can help you review the factors in your case and explain what to expect.

Can Temporary Spousal Support Become Permanent?

Temporary spousal support will end the day the terms of a divorce are finalized. However, beyond that, the court may order a spouse to pay long-term spousal support as well for an indefinite period of time. The duration of such payments relies heavily upon the length of marriage. Basically, the longer a marriage lasts, the longer spousal support must be paid.

For instance, for marriages of 10 years or less, the duration of spousal support is usually one-half of the length of marriage. So, a marriage of 8 years would translate to 4 years of spousal support. In contrast, for marriages of 10 years or longer the duration of spousal support is much more complicated, involving many more factors the court must consider.

Contact a Fresno Alimony Attorney Today

If you are going through a divorce or separation and have questions about temporary spousal support in California, contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks for a free consultation.

How to Avoid Paying Alimony

How to Avoid Paying AlimonyIn order to avoid alimony payments that are either too much or too long, you must be diligent before the court gives the order. We cannot stress enough that you should NEVER violate a court order or lie about your income to the court. This article will detail lawful, preventive measures for avoiding unreasonable alimony payments.

How to Avoid Paying Alimony Through Settlement Negotiations

First, you must have an experienced family law attorney on your side. Your attorney should ideally limit their practice to family law. An inexperienced attorney will often use cookie-cutter approaches to settlement agreements that don’t always fit their clients situation. Furthermore, these same attorneys also lack the knowledge in family law that could greatly help your specific situation.

In addition, you must also consider other terms of your divorce when determining an amount of alimony. Never agree to an amount of alimony that you know you cannot afford after other agreement terms. For example, if you take on 100% of community debt, then you cannot reasonably be asked to pay alimony on top of that. Otherwise, you the financial hit would be too extreme.

When it comes to duration of alimony, consider writing a termination date for payments in your agreement. Typically, the duration should be half the length of the marriage. If you do not establish this date, then you risk future time and expenses for ending alimony after it reaches the half way point.

How to Avoid Paying Alimony If the Amount Is Beyond the Marital Standard of Living

With an experienced attorney, the spouse paying alimony should calculate an amount consistent to the marital standard of living. One big mistake often made by the higher earning spouse is to base alimony off their current income. It may not be consistent to the marital standard of living.

The spouse expecting alimony is not usually entitled to an amount based off of income increases after separation. For instance, if the higher earning spouse made $150,000 per year during the marriage, but now earns $250,000 after separation, the amount of alimony should be based off of the $150,000 income. As an alimony paying spouse, to ensure that you do not pay an amount beyond the marital standard of living, you must be diligent before the court order.

Avoid Paying Alimony to a Spouse Refusing to Work

If you’re in a situation where your spouse is capable of having gainful employment but refuses to work, then one option available to you is a vocational examination. Once ordered, the vocational examiner will evaluate your spouse’s earning ability and capacity to work. They will then report to the court whether your spouse can and should earn an income. If the examiner sets a number and the court agrees, the court may impute income to the spouse.

Avoid Paying Alimony to a Spouse That Wants It But Doesn’t Need It

The most common situation in which a spouse does not need alimony is when they have independent wealth separate from marital funds. If the spouse seeking alimony holds an inheritance or has other access to money to pay their expenses, then they have a lesser need for alimony.

In order to avoid paying alimony to spouse under the above circumstances, the court can use Family Code section 4320. This section requires courts to consider relevant circumstances. Never assume that analysis of alimony starts and ends with income.

Learn More About How to Avoid Paying Alimony

For more information about how to avoid paying alimony, contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.

How Long Does Alimony Last?

How Long Does Alimony LastThe duration of alimony not only affects your financial planning, but your sense of financial security as well. After all, whether you’re the one paying alimony or the once that receives it, those payments will affect your expenses, income, and standard of living.

How Long Does Alimony Last in Short Marriages?

When deciding issues of divorce, the differences between a short and long marriage aren’t always black and white. There is no real strict line that divides the two. In fact, in some cases a marriage under 10 years may be considered a long-term marriage, while a marriage over 10 years may be treated like a short marriage. Because of these grey areas, let’s keep this article simple and look at a marriage of five-years.

Typically, in short-term marriages alimony lasts for one half the duration of the entire marriage. So, when considering a five-year marriage, alimony should last about 2 1/2 years.

However, it is vital to remember that that rule does not always apply. Will alimony for every five-year marriage last 2 1/2 years? No. The length of your marriage is only one consideration when determining the duration of alimony.

How Long Does Alimony Last for Marriages Over 10 Years?

For the following example, let’s just assume that you have a 20 year marriage, and that it will be treated as a long-term one.

In most cases of the example given above, alimony will last without any specific end date. Furthermore, the court will order alimony payments until either spouse dies, the spouse who receives the payments remarries, or the court orders the payments to stop. Basically, whichever comes first.

The above is what is known as a “further order of the court”. That specific phrase keeps alimony payments continuing, however, there is a also a lot of confusion surrounding it. When such an order is given, spouses assume that the order will never change. But, that is not true. Unless both spouses agree to an order of alimony that is unmodifiable, your alimony order is modifiable. Even in a long-term marriage, like 20 years in our above example, alimony can be modified on a future date.

A modification of alimony can be a termination of alimony, downward modification, or even an upward modification in certain situations.

Can You Agree to End Alimony in a Long-Term Marriage?

Yes, of course. Both you and your spouse can agree to have the court terminate alimony payments in a long-term marriage. The same also goes for short-term marriages. You and your spouse have the right and power to make it stop.

What If Neither Spouse Wants Alimony Right Now?

Sometimes, spouses may agree to a zero alimony order, also known as a “reserved” alimony order. This type of order means that while neither spouse wants alimony now, they also don’t want to terminate alimony altogether. The most common situation for such an order is when both spouses make about the same income and neither has the ability or need to pay the other alimony.

Since you cannot predict the future, it is never advisable to outright terminate alimony. A loss of job, serious illness, or other factors may lead to a need for alimony. Life is never predictable.

How Long Does Alimony Last? A Divorce Lawyer Can Help

Our experienced family law attorneys have handled many alimony cases, and can help determine how long alimony will last in your situation. Contact us today at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks.

How Does Alimony Work?

how does alimony workIf you and your spouse are currently facing a divorce, you may be ordered to make alimony payments. But how does alimony work? And how exactly is it determined? Find out below.

How Does the Court Determine Who Pays What?

Generally, the spouse that earns substantially more money is ordered to make alimony payments. These monthly payments, sometimes known as “spousal support” or “maintenance”, are pre-determined by the court in order to provide financial support to the low income spouse. However, if your marriage is short lived, or if you and your spouse’s incomes are similar, alimony payments will most likely not be ordered.

If your spouse is awarded alimony, you will need to make payments each month until:

  • The date set by your judge (usually several years later)
  • Your ex-spouse remarries
  • Your children reach an age where a full-time parent isn’t needed
  • The court determines, after a reasonable time, that your spouse has neglected to become partially self-supporting
  • Other significant events occur, such as a retirement or successfully convincing the judge to modify the payment amount
  • Either you or your spouse dies

While you and your spouse can agree to length terms and payment amount, if you cannot agree, the court will determine those factors instead. With a court decision comes a trial, which can be time consuming and costly. Fortunately, seeking guidance from a family law attorney can help each party come to an agreement and avoid a trial.

What to Expect When Making Alimony Payments

Being ordered to make alimony payments does not make you a bad person. In most cases, it simply means that you make more money than your spouse. For more than 100 years, people have been ordered to pay alimony, and while it’s ordered less frequently today, it is still around. If you’re ordered to pay alimony, you will be legally obligated to make monthly payments of a predetermined amount.

What to Expect When Receiving Alimony Payments

Looking at your ability to earn will help determine if you’re eligible to receive alimony. Remember that this does not necessarily mean what you’re earning by the time you go to trial. Often, if you are awarded alimony, you will be requested to make life and work changes. For example, if you’re working a part-time, low income job, you can be required to find a full-time job in a higher paying field. If you have not been fully employed for a while, vocational evaluators can be hired to report your current job prospects to the court. These evaluators will administer a vocational test and share your experience and credentials with prospective employers to determine how much income you could make.

Keep Detailed Records for Tax Purposes

Whether you make or receive alimony payments, it is vital that you keep detailed records. For the paying spouse, alimony is tax-deductible, and for the support spouse, it constitutes taxable income. Without detailed records, you can lose your tax deduction or be required to pay back support if the IRS challenges the amount or a dispute arises.

Important notice: under a 2017 Republican Tax Bill, starting January 1st, 2019, alimony will no longer be tax deductible or required to report under gross income.

Here is a breakdown the records both parties should keep:

Paying Spouse

The spouse required to pay alimony should keep:

  • a detailed list of each payment (including the date, address, and check number)
  • the original check used for each payment–include a note for the month of support each check was used
  • get receipts for each payment, with recipient’s signature, if you pay in cash

Keep these records for at least three years from when you file the tax return deducting your payments.

Receiving Spouse

The spouse awarded alimony should keep a list of each payment received and include the following information:

  • date of each payment received
  • amount of each payment
  • check or money order number
  • account number
  • name of bank of each payment
  • a photocopy of the check
  • copy of any signed receipt for cash payments

What Happens If Your Spouse Refuses to Pay?

If your spouse refuses to pay, seek legal action immediately. Alimony payment orders have the same power as other court orders. Seeking legal action is the best course for obtaining your payments. Sometimes the court can jail a reluctant payer to show they’re serious.

Speak to an Alimony Lawyer Today

To learn more, contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks.

How Can I Get a Spousal Support Modification in California?

Spousal Support ModificationSince life is unpredictable, there may come a time when you have to ask the court to modify a spousal support order. That is, you may need to request that the court reduce or even terminate the alimony you pay a former spouse.

You may be wondering how to go about requesting spousal support modification. If you’re in or near Fresno, the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks can help you through the process

Two Kinds of Alimony

California courts typically order two kinds of spousal support:

  1. Temporary support during separation or a pending divorce case; and
  2. Long-term support based on court calculations or agreements between the parties of the divorce.

Both types of spousal support are typically paid monthly, and you can modify or renegotiate them under specific circumstances as long as the original written agreement does not include a “no modification” clause. Jurisdiction is retained by the issuing court, which you must petition to make the change.

Usually there is no need to modify short-term spousal support, given its limited nature. Nearly all support modifications are associated with long-term support.

What Is the Spousal Support Modification Process?

Depending on the agreement or court decision, your spousal support order may require you to pay long-term spousal support:

  • Indefinitely.
  • Until the receiving party becomes self-supporting.
  • Until the receiving party remarries.

Whatever the type of support, if you request a modification, you must demonstrate a “material change of circumstance” since the last spousal support order. The court will expect you to prove this change. Usually, this means a significant decrease in income, such as from losing your job, receiving a demotion, or changing jobs. It may also result from you becoming physically injured, seriously ill, or handicapped, or otherwise unable to earn enough to pay as much alimony as before.

What Factors Does the Court Consider?

Before ruling on your potential spousal support modification, the court will consider several factors:

  • Is the receiving spouse self-supporting? Under the California Family Code, the receiving spouse is obligated to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time after the divorce. This is typically half the length of the marriage. Most courts end spousal support after this point. You may also ask for its termination or reduction if your former spouse has made no reasonable efforts to become self-supporting.
  • Has the receiving spouse increased their earnings? If so, you have grounds to ask for a reduction or termination of support.
  • Have the receiving spouse’s estate and income potential increased significantly? If the supported spouse has a large enough estate and income (for example, through increased value of divided community property or through an inheritance), the court will take that into account. It may be sufficient for result in a reduction or termination of support.

The Court Will Also Check for the Following

Before deciding on a spousal support modification, the court will check for:

  • Remarriage of the receiving spouse. This automatically terminates most support orders.
  • Cohabitation of the receiving spouse. If your former spouse is living with someone in a romantic relationship, you can request reduction or termination.
  • Your retirement status. Your retirement is sufficient cause for termination of support if you’re legally old enough to retire (age 65). Moreover, your spouse can’t force you to work past age 65 just so you can keep paying alimony. At the very least, you should be able to get a significant reduction, especially if your post-retirement income has decreased.

A Fresno Attorney Can Help You With Spousal Support Modification

Changing a support agreement can be a complex process. However, we can help make the spousal support modification process a little smoother. With more than 15 years of family legal service under our belts, the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks has the experience needed to help you with any family law issue you may face. Call us today.

How Long Do You Have to Pay Alimony After Your Divorce?

How Long Do You Have to Pay AlimonyOne of the most commonly asked questions after a divorce judgement is: how long do you have to pay alimony? Alimony can be very expensive, and knowing when you can stop paying may give you something to look forward to.

At the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks, we’ll be happy to answer your alimony questions and help make life easier for you.

Understanding Alimony Basics

Alimony is money paid by the more-affluent spouse to the less-affluent spouse on a monthly basis after a divorce. The intent is to help the payee with their living expenses. Sometimes it’s permanent. Sometimes it lasts only a few months or years, or until the payee can start making a decent living. Not all states require alimony, but California does, especially after a contested divorce.

How Much Alimony Will I Have to Pay?

That depends on how much you both earn, where you live, and the judge’s final decision. It can be hundreds or thousands of dollars per month.

When Do I Have to Start Paying, and How Long Do You Have to Pay Alimony on Average?

You start paying alimony once your divorce is final and you receive the official judgment. The alimony order will specify how long you have to pay alimony. Usually, you have to pay until:

  • One of you dies;
  • Your spouse remarries;
  • The court makes a further ruling; or
  • A specific end date arrives.

For short-term marriages (less than 10 years), the alimony usually sets an end date. Long-term marriages result in long-term alimony. The judge has some leeway, especially for “gray area” marriages that last more than nine but less than 10 years. Similarly, the judge can decide to terminate alimony for a long-term marriage after a specific period.

If There’s an End Date, When Will It Most Likely Be?

Most judges set the alimony end date for a short-term marriage at half the length of the marriage. If you were married for six years, you can expect the alimony to last three years. Caution: don’t just assume this is always true and stop paying after the halfway mark, just in case the judge decided to set the date later. Find the termination date on your alimony order and remember it.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Review My Alimony Order?

We recommend it. The judge can interpret and order your alimony terms in numerous ways, and they won’t necessarily be in your best interests. We’ll be able to tell you how the order affects you, and answer that very important question of, “How long do you have to pay alimony?”

What If Something Happens and I Can’t Afford to Pay My Alimony Anymore?

The court recognizes that circumstances can change your ability or need to pay. You can ask for a modification or termination of alimony if, for example:

  • You:
    • retire at the normal retirement age.
    • suffer a significant decrease in income.
    • suffer an unforeseen increase in expenses.
  • Your:
    • spouse’s income increases significantly.
    • spouse is cohabitating with someone.
    • spouse’s living expenses decrease.
    • spouse receives income or assets that decreases or relieves their need for alimony.

We can help you determine whether other circumstances might also apply.

Contact an Alimony Lawyer Today

If you’ve got an alimony order and aren’t sure how long you have to pay, or if you need a modification or termination, call the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks at (559) 222-4891 for a free consultation. Alimony doesn’t necessarily last for life. The answer to the question “How long do you have to pay alimony?” may not be as long as you expect.

How the Trump Tax Plan Will Affect Spousal Support Payments

spousal support, Trump tax planDivorce is complicated enough. But add in the Trump tax plan, and it gets a little more complex. Previously, you could deduct spousal support payments on your federal income tax return. The receiver of spousal support also had to report these payments as taxable income. But now, effective January 1, 2019, the Trump tax plan will change the way alimony payments can be taxed.

Trump Tax Plan Eliminates Alimony Deductions

The Trump tax plan regarding spousal support applies to:

  • Divorce or separation settlements or orders that are executed after December 31, 2018; or,
  • Modified spousal support after December 31, 2018, but only if the modification order specifically states that the Trump tax plan applies.

If the above applies, then the payer cannot deduct alimony payments from his or her federal income tax return. On the other hand, the receiver of alimony will no longer have to include them as taxable income.

However, the alimony payments mandated by divorce or separation agreements executed prior to 2019 are unaffected.

Changes in the Law Could Mean Higher Taxes and Smaller Spousal Support Payments

The Trump tax plan could mean higher taxes and lower spousal support payments. Usually, the higher-earning spouse will pay spousal support to the lower-earning spouse. The best way to see how the new tax laws will affect you is by way of illustration.

Say the husband is the higher-earning spouse and his top marginal tax rate is 35%. The wife is the lower-earning spouse whose top marginal tax rate is 22%. Let’s say the couple’s divorce settlement decrees that the husband will pay $2000 per month in alimony.

Pursuant to the current tax laws, the husband could deduct the entirety of the $2000/month ($24,000) off the top of his income. This means the $24,000 he paid out won’t be taxed at the 35% tax rate, permitting him to save $8,400 in taxes. The wife, who must report the spousal support payments as taxable income, will be paying 22% tax rate on the $24,000 spousal support payments. Thus, she will owe the IRS $5,280.

Under the Trump tax plan, the wife will pay nothing while the husband will pay the additional $8,400 in taxes.

How Will This Affect Me?

Under the current rules, family law attorneys are able to come to a mutually agreeable settlement for spousal support. Because of the immense tax savings, the higher-earning spouse has more incentive to agree to pay higher alimony to the lesser-earning spouse. But beginning 2019, spousal support payments are likely to be lower and with more financial burden on both parties due to the tax changes. This also affects alimony payments modified after December 31, 2018.

So, for those seeking divorce, it is more likely that the higher-earning spouse will want to finalize the divorce prior to December 31, 2018, since the lower-earning spouse bears the tax burden. Contrarily, the lower-earning spouse may want the divorce finalized on or after January 1, 2019, because the higher-earning spouse bears the tax burden.

Other Things to Consider

But the tax burden should not be the only thing you should consider when thinking about divorce. For instance, if one spouse is expecting a massive payday from a business venture, the other spouse may want to wait until after the income has been earned.

Speak to a Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney

There are many issues to think about when deciding to divorce. The tax benefit/burden is just one aspect of divorce. If you are considering divorce, it is crucial that you seek sound advice from an experienced family law attorney. Call the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today at (559) 222-4891.

Alimony Lawyer Explains How to Calculate Your Spousal Support

alimony lawyerIf you or our spouse is seeking spousal support, you may wonder how spousal support is calculated and if there are any special challenges. A knowledgeable alimony lawyer can educate you on these issues.

Calculating Temporary Alimony

The purpose of temporary spousal support is to preserve, at the greatest extent possible, the couple’s financial status quo. When calculating temporary spousal support, courts generally use formulas and input numbers into a computer program to arrive at an amount. An experienced alimony lawyer can help you determine what formula the court uses and provide you with an estimate of temporary spousal support.

Calculating Long-Term Alimony

The purpose of alimony after divorce is finalized is to help the supported spouse maintain a standard of living close to the marital standard. The ultimate goal is for that spouse to become self-supporting. When determining final spousal support, the court must take into consideration the factors set forth in Family Code 4320, such as:

  • Supported spouse’s marketable skills;
  • Job market for those skills;
  • Time and expense the supported spouse needs to acquire education or training for employment or enhanced employment;
  • Extent of supported spouse’s unemployment periods because of domestic duties during the marriage that impaired that spouse’s present and future earning capacity;
  • Extent the supported spouse contributed to the other spouse’s education, training, professional licensing, or career advancement;
  • Ability for the supporting spouse to pay support, taking into consideration that spouse’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living;
  • Needs of each party based upon marital standard of living;
  • Each spouse’s obligations and assets, including separate property;
  • Duration of marriage;
  • Ability of the custodial parent to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with dependent children’s interests;
  • Each spouse’s health and age;
  • Any documented history of domestic violence or abusive spouse’s criminal conviction;
  • Immediate and specific tax consequences to each spouse;
  • Balance of each spouse’s hardships;
  • Supported spouse to be self-supporting within a reasonable time; and,
  • Any other factors the court determines are equitable and just.

A seasoned alimony lawyer can help you maximize the alimony you deserve.

Special Challenges

Courts may be faced with special challenges when analyzing your marital standard of living.

Frugal Lifestyle

The court must decide whether the marital lifestyle is consistent with the same level of unusual frugality. If the couple accumulated savings and other investments then the court can set alimony consistent with the modest lifestyle to permit for savings.

Living Beyond Financial Means

Some couples live well beyond their means, accumulating debt. In these situations, the court will typically view the spouses’ income rather than debt. Living bey

Workaholic Spouse

When one spouse works very long hours that cannot be maintained in the long run, the court has the discretion to order alimony based upon reasonable work hours.

An alimony lawyer can review your circumstances and help you obtain complete evidence to fully support your position.

An Alimony Lawyer Can Help

If you are seeking alimony or if your spouse is seeking spousal support, contact a skilled alimony lawyer with the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks at (559) 222-4891 for assistance.

Alimony Attorney: How Is Alimony Calculated in California?

alimony attorneyIf you are currently in the midst of California divorce proceedings, you may be entitled to alimony payments – otherwise known as spousal support payments. Alimony may be short-term (pendente lite) or long-term and generally requires that the higher earning spouse pay the other spouse a specified amount of a money for a predetermined period of time. Alimony may also consist of a single lump-sum payment. An experienced alimony attorney at Rick Banks Law has the legal knowledge and experience to help you obtain alimony and other types of support, both while your divorce case is pending and after your divorce case has been finalized.

Duration of Support

The length of time for which a spouse is legally entitled to alimony payments is usually tied in with the duration of the spouses’ marriage. If the marriage lasted for less than 10 years, a California court will not usually order alimony payments for longer than half the duration of the marriage.

However, if the marriage lasted for 10 years or longer, California courts will not usually set a definite alimony termination date. Courts in California are not likely to award ‘indefinite’ or ‘permanent’ alimony. Spouses who claim that they cannot work for some reason must usually offer evidence to that effect, such as a vocational evaluation and/or evidence of advanced age or disability.

Calculating the Amount of Spousal Support Owed

In cases of temporary alimony, where a spouse receives support while the divorce case is still pending, California courts usually use established formulas for arriving at the total support amount.

In cases of support ordered after a final divorce decree has been entered, California courts are likely to consider the following factors:

  • The supported spouse’s marketable skills
  • The supported spouse’s time or expenses needed for additional education or training
  • The supported spouse’s non-monetary contributions to the marriage
  • The supported spouse’s contributions to the other spouse’s education, training, or professional licensing
  • The supporting spouse’s ability to pay the support
  • Each spouse’s financial needs
  • Each spouse’s needs based upon the standard of living that was established over the course of the spouses’ marriage
  • Each spouse’s income and assets
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s age and health status
  • Tax consequences of each spouse
  • Any documented instances of domestic violence between the spouses

Modification or Termination of Spousal Support

Any spousal support agreement or court order may be modified based upon a material change in circumstances. Under California law, spousal support automatically terminates upon the death or remarriage of one of the spouses.

Effects of Spousal Support on Income Taxes

A spouse who receives alimony must usually pay taxes on those alimony payments. By the same token, a spouse who pays alimony may deduct those payments on his or her tax returns. There are generally no tax ramifications associated with a lump sum support payment.

Contact a Fresno Alimony Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

A Fresno alimony attorney can help you determine whether or not you are eligible for spousal support under California law. Call the experienced alimony attorneys at Rick Banks Law at 559-222-4891 today.