Spousal support, also referred to as “alimony,” maybe something you are trying to minimize the amount you pay or maximize the amount you receive. For men, support obligations to an ex-wife may be one of the most highly-anticipated aspects when considering filing for divorce in San Diego or anywhere in California, and vice versa for women who expect to receive support from an ex-husband.
Whether you expect to pay spousal support or receive spousal support, payments are ordered by the Court in an effort to smoothly transition families into a new lifestyle while attempting to maintain the standard of living for all.
Expectations about Spousal Support in San Diego
The lawyers at Shorb & Connor APC have extensive practice in negotiating and settling issues surrounding spousal support. We help our clients understand the equitable requirements under the law and advise our clients in reaching fair agreements that reflect a way forward for both people.
Two Types of Spousal Support in California
In California, there are two main types of spousal support common to be awarded to a spouse, depending on the needs of your family.
Temporary Spousal Support
This support is paid after filing for divorce but before the divorce is finalized. Commonly, temporary spousal support is calculated based on a state-specific or county-specific formula that evaluates the two incomes (or earning capacity), as well as tax status and deductions.
Permanent Spousal Support (after divorce is finalized)
This support is paid after the divorce is final and can be ordered to be paid for a specific duration or indefinitely in some instances. The Court has broad discretion in determining the amount of spousal support.
Calculate The Amount of Spousal Support in San Diego
The spousal support calculation for San Diego County, and all of California, is not set by strict formula. Instead, it’s up to the parties if they are able to agree on a fair and appropriate amount. Given the hostility and conflict in most matters, the Court has the ultimate and final decio0sin in calculating the monthly amount of spousal support, as well as the duration of support.
The following factors are considered before an order is issued by the Court awarding spousal support:
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living experienced during the marriage
- What each person pays or can pay (including earnings and earning capacity)
- Whether having a job would make it too hard to take care of the children
- Debts and liabilities of each person
- Separate property and assets of each person
- Each persons source(s) of income
- The age and health of each person
- Each spouse’s ability to be self-supporting
- Tax consequences to each party
- Whether 1 spouse helped the other get an education or professional license
- Whether 1 spouse helped the other build a new career, income stream, hobby that generates money, or business
- Whether 1 spouse’s career was affected by unemployment or by taking care of the children or home
- Whether there was domestic violence
- The immediate and specific tax implications of spousal support
- And the overall balance of hardship on each person
In certain instances, these factors can prove challenging to evaluate. When it’s appropriate and necessary, our lawyers at Shorb & Connor APC engage with third-party professionals to advocate for the proper spousal support award.
What is the effective date of Spousal Support?
Spousal support is usually granted retroactively, meaning the calculation begins when a motion for Spousal Support is filed. When considering divorce, it’s crucial to understand that each day without filing for spousal support is another day you will go without spousal support.
The lawyers at Shorb & Connor APC know each day matters, and we take special care in ensuring your rights are well asserted.
How To Oppose Spousal Support in San Diego, CA
If your circumstances allow, there are ways to fight the burden of paying support. The ex-spouse receiving support is obligated to work towards becoming self-supporting. As your lawyers, we help to protect you and your pocketbook to ensure your ex-spouse moves forward as a productive member of society.
How Long Must Spousal Support Be Paid
The length of time the spousal support must be paid is based on the duration of the marriage unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties. California Law provides guidelines for how to contemplate the duration of time spousal support is to be paid, but ultimately the duration is set by the Court after a cumulative evaluation of the circumstances.
0-10 Years of Marriage
For marriages having lasted less than 10 years, the duration of spousal support is calculated as 50% of the length of the marriage. For example, a marriage lasting 7 years would estimate to receive support for 3 years and 6 months after divorce, presuming all other factors were consistent with this being an equitable and just length of time as determined by the Court.
10+ Years of Marriage
For marriages lasting 10 years or longer, the marriage is considered a long term marriage. A long term marriage will either have spousal support awarded until the death of either of the spouses or until the spouse receiving support becomes self-supporting, as determined by the Court.
What causes modifications to Spousal Support?
The Court will retain jurisdiction (control) over all spousal support matters for years to come. To be eligible to request a modification of support, there must be a change in circumstances affecting the finances of either party, such as:
- A change in income (new job, new marriage, etc.)
- A change inability to pay (as a result of debts, job loss, pay cut)
- Illness or injury of either party
- Hardships suffered by either party
- Retirement of either party
- Changes in tax consequences
Protect Your Rights and Family During Divorce
While some parties may consider changing the Spousal Support Order’s terms informally, outside of Court, the appropriate method to update a support order is by requesting a formal support modification from the Court. The Court must issue an order with updated terms for those terms to become effective.
The risk faced by changing terms outside of the Court is that you remain under court order to perform specific duties as defined in that Order. At any given time, you need to be in full compliance with the Order from the Court.
The divorce attorneys at Shorb & Connor APC have helped countless spouses battling for spousal support during divorce. Contact us online or call 858-771-9400 to schedule your confidential consultation to lessen your overwhelm and get the advice you deserve.