Whether you call it spousal support or alimony, this part of divorcing in Sacramento remains shrouded in several misconceptions. Alimony is a financial tool primarily awarded to help people get on their feet in the wake of a divorce.
If you need spousal support or are concerned about paying it, the following details will help you make sense of the alimony laws in California.
What to discard and what to keep
Many people believe they can go to jail if they do not pay. Incarcerations involving alimony are rare and only occur for ignoring a court order instructing you to pay spousal support. For example, noncompliance with an alimony order could lead to contempt of court charges and possible incarceration.
- Myth. Spousal support lasts forever.
- Fact. The duration of spousal support depends on the terms of the court order and typically lasts for only a set period.
- Myth. Only women can receive alimony.
- Fact. Men are also eligible for alimony, with more men than ever qualifying for and receiving spousal support.
- Myth. Responsibility for paying support ends with a jail sentence.
- Fact. Alimony obligations do not end because of incarceration, and the amount owed (plus interest) will continue accumulating.
- Myth. Adultery always means paying alimony.
- Fact. Infidelity plays no role in whether a person receives an order to pay spousal support.
- Myth. Employers can fire you for alimony wage garnishment.
- Fact. No employer can fire a worker because of any wage withholding, including spousal support.
There is a lot to learn about divorce and spousal support in California. The knowledge you gain now can make a difference in the outcome of your divorce.