Alimony and divorce laws that legally dictate which spouse is entitled to certain financial assistance have changed substantially over the years. If you are married to someone who makes more money than you, and you have become accustomed to a certain type of lifestyle, alimony can be a useful entity that can help you survive until you become more financially independent. But what are the specific California divorce laws when it comes to spousal support? How do you receive the appropriate settlement that you are entitled to? Here are the basics that you need to know.
First, it is important to understand what alimony is. According to the legal help website, Find Law, alimony is “spousal support, the purpose being to alleviate any unfair economic burdens that may befall the lower wage-earning spouse or the non-wage earning spouse after a divorce takes place.”
According to California law and summarized by FindLaw, here are the factors that go into spousal support rulings:
- Age, physical condition, and financial condition of the spouses
- The earning capacity and financial condition of the spouses.
- The standard of living during marriage. What was each spouse used to and what kind of lifestyle did they live, and how much money does the supported party need in order to live a somewhat similar lifestyle as they did in their marriage?
- The actual length of the marriage.
- The ability of the spouse who will have to pay to be able to support him or herself.
Furthermore, there are different types of alimony payments, which fall into two categories: short and long term support. Here are some examples of when each one would be used, according to online legal source, Divorce Net:
- Temporary support during pending divorce. If you have a right to get support, it will begin as soon as you legally separate. Support to the lower-earning spouse is usually granted while the divorce is still in process. Having a written agreement between both parties is usually helpful to offset any further arguing in court regarding the subject.
- Short term support. If a marriage was very short, the supported spouse will receive alimony only for a few years. The court will decide when the end date will be. This can vary based on different factors.
- Rehabilitative support. Rehabilitative support is support given to the lesser income earner of the spouses, who is looking to get a new job or retrain in a certain field so they can start supporting themselves again. The end date for this type of alimony is usually contingent upon when the supported spouse is finished with their training and has been employed in the field they trained in. The spouse who is supporting this person can contest it if they can claim that the supported spouse is not “working hard enough” on achieving their education/training goals, or has not worked at receiving employment upon the completion of their training.
- Long term marriage support. In the state of California, marriages of ten years or more are considered “long term.” Courts are therefore not allowed to set a definite date of termination for alimony during the divorce trial. If the supported spouse gets employment that allows them to be self-supporting after ten years, then the supporting spouse can contest the alimony.
By a general rule of thumb, marriages that are less than ten years in length, alimony will be given no longer than half the length of the marriage. So if someone was married for five years, they will receive alimony for 2.5 years.
- Alimony and child support are not the same. The supported party is always entitled to child support, regardless of whether they receive alimony payments or not. These amounts are based on other contingent factors, but should not be confused with alimony payments whatsoever.
Know your rights. Go online to My Divorce Papers today and learn more about spousal support, settlements, and child custody arrangements. Learn about what you are entitled to under California state law, or call their customer service line at (800) 604-2860 to speak with a certified specialist.