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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.

Modifying an order for spousal support in California

Many people who receive or who are ordered to pay spousal support in a divorce in California run into unexpected life events that necessitate revising the terms of the order. The first question people in this position ask is, can an order for spousal support be changed? The second question is, how do I do it?

Five kinds of alimony may be ordered in California divorce

Divorce often entails an uncertain financial future for one or both spouses. Spousal maintenance, called alimony, is used by the California courts to ameliorate certain financial hardships. Understanding the nature and justification for each type of spousal support may help persons prepare for the financial consequences of divorce.

What factors may a court consider when awarding spousal support?

When it comes to household income, every marriage in California is different. Sometimes, both spouses work outside the home and earn more or less the same amount. However, in some marriages, one spouse works outside the home while the other spouse stays out of the workforce to care for the family. Also, in other marriages both spouses work outside the home, but one spouse earns significantly more than the other.

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