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Calculating spousal support in a California divorce

When a couple in Sacramento County decides to end their marriage, the issue of spousal support can be troubling to both parties. Generally, the court will order the higher earning spouse to pay alimony (or "spousal support") to the lower earning spouse. This generality has been modified by the California legislature to include a list of several factors that they must use in calculating both temporary and permanent spousal support. Sacramento County courts use the "Santa Clara method" for calculating temporary support: 40% of the high earners net income (less child support) minus 50% of low earner's net income.

Understanding temporary alimony in a California divorce

Most divorcing couples in California choose to live apart while the divorce is pending. Living apart may reduce the level of acrimony, but it may also cause financial headaches for one or both of the parties. For this reason, California courts are frequently asked for and frequently issue orders for spousal support during the pendency of the divorce, otherwise known as temporary alimony.

Enforcing an order for spousal support in California

The subject of spousal support can be one of the most contentious issues in any divorce in Sacramento County. When the court issues its final order declaring the parties to be divorced and setting an amount and schedule for alimony payments, many people feel that the worst is behind them. Unhappily, the future does not always cooperate. Many ex-spouses fail to pay support to their former spouses. The failure to pay either child or spousal support can often be justified by a change in the financial situation of one or both parties, but in too many cases, the payor spouse simply chooses to disregard the court's order.

How California judges determine the amount of alimony

One of the most difficult issues in any divorce in California is whether one ex-spouse will be ordered to pay alimony to the other ex-spouse. The answers to these questions can affect the life of each ex-spouse for many years, and understanding the factors that the court must consider in awarding spousal support will help both parties present their cases arguing for more or less alimony.

An overview of spousal support in California

One of the biggest concerns for any Sacramento resident who is considering a divorce is the subject of alimony, or "spousal support," to use the preferred California term. Generally speaking, California courts will order one spouse to pay support to the other spouse to alleviate unfair economic burdens that will arise out of the divorce. The spouse with the lower income will usually receive an award of spousal support from the other spouse, but a mere comparison of income levels does not settle the question.

Modifying an order for spousal support: why and how

Many people who get divorced in Sacramento assume that the court's order that sets allowances for child support and alimony are fixed and cannot be changed. California's divorce laws allow for modification to any order for spousal support if either spouse is experiencing what is called "a change in circumstances."

Many factors affect determination of spousal support

One of the questions most frequently asked by people in Sacramento contemplating a divorce is whether the court will order the payment of alimony. Some spouses believe that the court will order them to pay spousal support to the other spouse, and they want the amount set as low as possible. Spouses who expect to receive support want the amount to be as high as possible. Given the complexity of factors that must be considered by the court in awarding spousal support, only the simplest of financial situations permit anything close to an accurate prediction.

Enforcing an order for spousal support in California

Many divorcing couples in California view the entry of the final decree as the end of the anger and frustration that infects many divorce proceedings. Unfortunately, some couples continue to engage in angry and manipulative behavior long after the marriage is officially over. One of the most common actions is the failure of the party charged with paying spousal support to make those payments on time and in the proper amount. Sometimes, the failure to pay support can be justified by the payor spouse's financial situation, but, in others, the failure to pay support reflects nothing more than the decision of the payor spouse to flout the order of the court.

New tax law changes taxation of spousal support payments

The tax law signed by President Trump just before Christmas will affect many aspects of American life, including the awarding of alimony in divorce cases. The length and complexity of the law will occupy lawyers and accountants for months as they try to come to grips with the law's meaning and implications. The change in the tax treatment of spousal support is simple to state, but the long term ramifications are not clear.

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