Articles Posted in Alimony in California

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The late Robin Williams knew how expensive going through a divorce could be. He once joked that they were, “going to call it ‘all the money’ but they changed it to ‘alimony.’” For the higher-income earner in a marriage that is headed toward divorce, “all the money” can feel all too real. Indeed, one of the biggest question marks surrounding couples considering a divorce is how much support payments will be—and how long they will continue.

Called spousal support in California, alimony reflects the amount of money the higher income earner pays to the lower- (or non-) income earning spouse during and after the divorce. These payments are intended to maintain the status quo of the marriage during the divorce process and help the lower-income earning partner become self-sufficient, if possible. 

Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule or formula that determine the appropriate amount of alimony, called “spousal support” in California, for every couple in the long-term. Fortunately, however, spousal support is something couples can agree to as part of the divorce process: both the amount and the duration. Knowing what spousal support is and what it is intended to do can help both you and your partner come to an agreement that does not feel like you are paying all the money to your partner. Let’s take a look at the definition of key terms around spousal support before examining typical spousal support arrangements—as well as your alternatives.

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If you are in the process of getting a divorce or wondering what the outcomes of one may be, you are probably thinking about what your alimony payments (called spousal support in California) might look like. Typically, as you know, the higher wage earner pays regular amounts to their spouse while the lower-wage earner collects these payments.

What you might not know is how many factors influence spousal support in California. The law around alimony in California is informed by dozens of factors, including the length of the marriage and your relative incomes as well as “any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.” That can feel like a big question mark.

If you end up meeting with a divorce attorney to understand your options, good lawyers will ask for many facts about your marriage. These will include your date of marriage, the date you separated or plan to separate (and whether this could be disputed), plus information about you and your partner’s finances. Understanding these central pieces of information will help establish whether the marriage was short- or long-term and set the stage for the terms of any potential spousal support agreement.

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