3 things to know about California alimony laws

On Behalf of The Law Offices of Ronda A. Middleton |

Lately, you have been contemplating divorce. You know that if you choose to end your marriage, you are facing a complex situation. You will have to make decisions that are in the best interests of your children. You and your husband will have to deal with dividing marital property. And, possibly most important, you will have to figure out how you are going to support yourself without his income.

In order to lessen the economic burden of losing your husband’s income, you may be able to receive spousal support. Depending on the level of contention in your divorce, the court might order your husband to pay alimony or the two of you may come to an agreement on your own. An experienced divorce attorney in the Orange County area can help protect your interests during divorce. Read further for more information on California alimony laws.

1. The judge’s determination

If you and your husband cannot agree on the terms of spousal support as part of your divorce settlement, the court will decide for you. When a judge makes decisions on spousal support matters, he or she looks at various factors.

The judge will consider your respective ages, physical capabilities and your financial state at the time of your divorce. He or she will also examine your earning capacity and living standards. If your husband out-earns you by a large percentage and your standard of living was high, you may receive a substantial alimony award. The court also considers how long you were married and how well your husband can provide for his own needs if he has to pay alimony.

2. More than one type of alimony

California provides for more than one kind of alimony. For example, during your separation, the court might order your husband to pay temporary alimony while your divorce is settled. The court might order your husband to pay rehabilitative alimony. Under this type of spousal support, your husband will pay alimony until you can make enough to support yourself.

If the court prescribes alimony indefinitely, you will receive permanent alimony until you remarry. The other two types of alimony you might receive are reimbursement or lump-sum support. Reimbursement alimony will cover the cost of attending a job-training program. When the court orders lump-sum spousal support, it usually comes in the place of a property settlement.

3. Enforcement

Enforcing spousal support can be very difficult. There are no laws in place that compel payment, such as wage-garnishments. In order to enforce payment, you may have to go to court in order for a judge to charge your ex-husband with contempt. Unfortunately, this could be expensive.

If you are considering divorce, you must consider many factors before accepting a settlement. One of the things you will have to look at is your options for support. Whether you are anticipating spousal support as part of your divorce decree or having problems collecting alimony, an experienced divorce attorney can help you.

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