Divorce and legal separation often have financial ramifications on all parties involved, especially the lower-earning spouse. As a result, the court awards support payments to prevent unfair financial burdens and ensure that no spouse is left destitute by the divorce. If you are considering filing for divorce and want to understand your options regarding spousal support, you need to speak with an experienced California family law attorney for detailed guidance.
At Crumpley & Crumpley PC, our attorneys have the experience, diligence, and resources to assist and guide individuals and families in family law matters, including divorce and alimony. Our dedicated team is available to discuss your unique situation and enlighten you about your options regarding alimony. Whether you need assistance establishing or modifying an existing alimony agreement, we can offer you the knowledgeable legal guidance and advocacy you need to make intelligent decisions in your divorce.
At Crumpley & Crumpley PC, we proudly serve clients across Livermore, California, and the surrounding areas of Walnut Creek, Danville, Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, Hayward, Castro Valley, Alameda, and Contra Costa County.
Spousal support (also known as alimony) is a court-ordered financial provision by a spouse to their estranged spouse during or for a period after a divorce.
To eliminate any unfair economic consequences of the divorce, the court may order the higher-wage earning spouse to make regular payments as financial support to the lower- or non-wage-earning spouse according to a predetermined schedule.
The spouse who makes the payment is the “payor spouse,” while the spouse who receives money is the “payee spouse” or “supported spouse.”
The different types of spousal support ordered by California courts include:
Temporary alimony is a predetermined sum made by the payor spouse to help the lower-earning spouse with attorney fees and other day-to-day expenses during the divorce proceedings. Temporary alimony ends once the divorce is finalized.
Permanent alimony, also known as “long-term support,” is a financial provision from the higher-earning spouse to the supported spouse to help them maintain the “marital standard of living” – or something close – even after the divorce. Long-term support is awarded in rare cases, for longer marriages, when a spouse is unable to become self-supporting due to a severe illness, disability, or advanced age.
Rehabilitative alimony is a predetermined sum made by the payor spouse to help the payee spouse become self-supporting. The payor spouse will continue making rehabilitative payments until the supported spouse completes a college degree, education, acquires additional job skills, or secures employment.
However, if one spouse funded the education, job training, or skill acquisition of the other spouse, California courts may award reimbursement alimony. The purpose is to recompense one spouse for the expenses of the other spouse through alimony payments.
Lump-sum alimony is a lump-sum payment made by the payor spouse instead of a property settlement. The California court may order this type of alimony if the supported spouse takes only a small amount of community property. Hence, the other spouse will pay them for their share of the property through alimony (lump-sum) payments.
To determine the amount, type, and duration of spousal support, the court may consider the following factors:
The length or duration of the marriage
The financial needs of both spouses based on their marital standard of living
The marketable skills of the supported spouse
The age, physical condition, and mental health of the spouses
The ability of the paying spouse to pay spousal support
The earning capacity, assets, and standard of living of the paying spouse
The assets and debts of both spouses’ including separate property
The extent to which the supported spouse contributed to the completion of an education, career, license, or job training of the paying spouse
The time and expense needed for the recipient spouse to complete their education, training, or acquire a skill
Every divorce case is unique, and a knowledgeable attorney can review your circumstances and work diligently to address and help settle alimony issues productively.
An existing alimony arrangement may be modified by either spouse, provided that there is no condition stating that it is non-modifiable. Under California law, a spousal support order may be modified if:
Both spouses agree to change the amount or duration of the alimony
One spouse files a post-decree motion seeking modification of the alimony order (The requesting spouse must show that there has been “a material change of circumstance” since the original/existing order)
Some reasons to seek alimony modifications include:
Involuntary loss of job
A significant drop in income of the paying spouse
The supported spouse isn’t making any reasonable effort to become self-supporting
The supported spouse no longer needs the monthly support payment
Alimony obligation will automatically terminate once the supported spouse dies.
A skilled family law attorney can fight compassionately to protect your rights, help you seek a modification, and enlighten you about the potential tax ramifications.
Alimony isn’t deductible in California if you and your ex-spouse file your tax returns jointly. Conversely, if you file your tax returns separately, alimony is tax-deductible. The paying spouse can deduct the alimony payments made throughout that year.
Issues of spousal support often arise during the marital dissolution process and need to be addressed appropriately. Spousal support is awarded to prevent any unfair economic implications of the divorce by providing predetermined payments to the lower- or non-earning spouse.
For over 25 years, our team at Crumpley & Crumpley PC has provided experienced legal services and passionate advocacy to clients in the legal matters of divorce and alimony. As your legal counsel, we will work meticulously to resolve spousal maintenance issues between you and your spouse. Our team will fight compassionately to protect your best interests, your future and help determine the best course of action moving forward.
If you need proper guidance to establish or modify alimony, contact us at Crumpley & Crumpley PC today to schedule a simple consultation. Our experienced team can offer you the detailed legal guidance and brilliant advocacy you need during this difficult transition in your life. Our firm is proud to serve clients throughout Livermore, Walnut Creek, Danville, Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, Hayward, Castro Valley, Alameda, and Contra Costa County.