Riverside Spousal Support Attorney
If you have spousal support issues, then you can speak to a credible spousal support attorney in Riverside.
Spousal Support Overview
The court could order temporary spousal support following a separation to maintain the status quo of the parties as they proceed through the divorce process. Alternatively, the court may require permanent spousal assistance based on each party’s circumstances. The Court must take into account:
- The living conditions enjoyed throughout the marriage;
- The respective requirements of each party;
- Competency to make payments.
Although there are 14 statutory criteria that the court is expected to consider before making an order for permanent spousal support, the option of ordering spousal support, the amount and the length of the support is beyond the jurisdiction of the court.
Spousal support was specifically linked to marital abuse in the days preceding the introduction of the no-fault divorce. In other words, the state granted spousal support to punish a “guilty” partner, who supposedly violated marital bonds. No-fault divorce law has, in most jurisdictions, stepped away from providing a right to the idea of spousal support. Nonetheless, spousal support is usually the last piece of the financial puzzle to be resolved during a divorce after child custody and distribution of assets has been completed.
While some states have few time limits on spousal support, others are making spousal support almost impossible to receive. California’s condition lies somewhere between those two extreme midpoints. Although there is a chance for genuinely lasting spousal support, these days it is not all that is common.
Factors the Court Takes Into Account When Determining Spousal Support
The volume and length of spousal support under California Family Code § 4320 are factors calculated by considering the following:
- If the partner applying for spousal support contributed substantially to the other’s schooling, employment, certification or career position;
- If each partner, based on his or her earning ability, would be able to sustain the same standard of living defined during marriage;
- Each spouse has its own separate property;
- The responsibilities of each party and their assets;
- How long the marriage lasted;
- The willingness of the supporting party to make ordered spousal support payments, based on employment, properties, living standards and capacity to earn;
- If a spouse seeking spousal support will operate without interfering substantially with the interests of minor children in his or her custody;
- The ages of all partners;
- Health of all spouses;
- Consideration of the moral energy resulting from domestic abuse;
- Tax implications for both partners, should spousal support be granted;
- Hardships suffered by one of the partners or by both;
- Whether or not a spouse requiring spousal support may become self-supporting within a fair period of time (generally half the length of the marriage), and
- Certain factors which the court can deem to be fair.
Is There a Ten-Year Rule in the State of California?
Although the general public may believe that California has a “ten-year statute” that entitles a partner to obtain permanent spousal support in a marriage of at least ten years, this is not the truth. Nonetheless, a marriage that has lasted ten years or more is a significant achievement that can influence whether the court will be able to reconsider the issue of spousal support at some stage in the future.
In addition, spousal support in the golden state, as a general rule, can also be levied for half the duration of a marriage that lasted less than ten years. The length of the spousal support is not specified in marriages which lasted longer than 10 years. Alternatively, the pressure is on the paying partner to convince a court that spousal support may become excessive in the future at some point. The court has a lot of flexibility as to the length of spousal support, but usually, the principle is that a receiving partner is entitled to spousal support only for as long as it takes that partner to become self-supporting.
Although in California spousal support, which is granted in a long-term marriage, may be considered “permanent,” in practice it is exceedingly rare for a California judge to grant fully permanent support. If the receiving partner reports an inability to work or become fully employed, evidence must support this assertion. Long-term spousal support orders are typically reduced to a very small sum progressively over time. In other words, while the court does not terminate spousal support on a fixed date, it may also set a termination date that will take effect, unless the person on the receiving end of the support demands an extension before that date.
Are Alimony and Spousal Support the Same Thing?
By theory, spousal support and alimony are the same. Throughout the years, the term “alimony” has been phased out and replaced by what is known to be the more common nomenclature, “spousal support.” There are states that do use the word “spousal maintenance.” Generally, California uses the phrase “spousal support” to refer to payments made from one partner to another after a divorce.
Payments of spousal support may be made after the divorce from a husband to a wife, or from a wife to a husband. The general principle is that the partner who is more financially fit should pay the other before the receiving partner can be self-supporting and function in the same way as they did before their marriage. In a number of instances, one spouse does not have adequate job experience, or may have been out of the workforce for a significant period of time, making it impossible for that spouse to find a job and retain the same quality of life they enjoyed while being married without assistance.
Do All Divorces Include Spousal Support?
There is a common misunderstanding as to whether one partner should still get spousal support in a divorce. In addition, since most divorces in the courts are not litigated, it is difficult to ascertain how much court-ordered spousal support is part of a divorce. So long as the spouses’ arrangement satisfies all of California’s legal criteria, the court is likely to uphold the agreement — even if the lower-earning partner does have a provision of compensation in that agreement.
A few figures position the number of couples divorcing who currently receive spousal support at just 10-15 per cent. Short-term assistance will be given in the Golden State when the divorce is pending. Such temporary spousal support is known as pendente lite support.
How is Temporary Spousal Support Calculated in the California Family Courts?
A formula is used to assess a conditional spousal support contract in the state of California by taking into account the claimant spouse’s needs and the paying spouse’s ability to pay. For example, 50 per cent of the lower-earning spouse’s income is deducted from 40 per cent of the higher earning spouse’s income in Santa Clara County.
Adjustments for tax consequences and child welfare are then factored into the calculation. The court will then restore what they agree is a reasonable amount of temporary spousal support. The requesting spouse’s marketable skills will be taken into account, along with the existing work market for the skill set of the spouse. Additionally, the court must recognize the possible time and cost that the individual seeking spousal support would need to obtain the education or training necessary to gain employment.
Some Interesting Facts Regarding California Spousal Support
Most individuals who can either get or be ordered to pay spousal support have many concerns regarding California’s spousal support legislation. Some of the facts related to spousal support in California include:
- The paying partner shall be allowed to retire in the Golden State at the age of 65 and will not be permitted to continue paying spousal support past that age. If a paying partner is forced into early retirement due to a health condition or other situation beyond his control, this may also lead to an end to spousal support payments.
- If the paying partner earns a substantial increase after the divorce, this increase cannot be viewed retroactively for the purpose of providing additional spousal support.
- If the paying partner has been affected by a significant reduction in income due to accidental termination or a health condition, the amount of spousal support will either be diminished or terminated.
- When the paying partner runs his or her own company and business profits have declined substantially, the amount of spousal support responsibilities can be reduced.
- If the amount of spousal support paid carries an annual “limit,” monthly bonuses or overtime pay can in certain cases be added to the amount of spousal support given.
- If a significant raise is given to the receiving partner, the paying partner may legally be entitled to limit or even cancel the amount of spousal support.
- Where spousal support is charged to a beneficiary who appears to have no interest in being self-supporting, the paying partner shall have the right to request that the court order a professional assessment. Courts are often permitted to assign a “fictional” benefit to the receiving partner, in a situation where it appears that the partner deliberately refuses work.
- In the same vein, the receiving spouse can claim disability as a result of stress or depression which prevents them from returning to work. Although it might certainly be a genuine disability, it would be advised to perform an Independent Medical Examination to assess what kind of jobs the receiving partner has at his fingertips.
- The amount of spousal support can be partly determined by the extent of the assets provided to the individual receiving the assistance.
- Declaration of bankruptcy is unlikely to result in the paying partner having discharged his or her spousal support responsibilities.
- Spousal support payments are typically a tax benefit for the paying partner, while the receiving partner is obliged to pay the reimbursement taxes.
- When a person receiving spousal support lives with a new romantic partner, the paying spouse may be able to ask the court to reduce or cancel the spousal support payments altogether.
- If the receiving partner remarries, the duty to pay spousal maintenance terminates immediately. Nonetheless, if such an order were in effect, the paying partner would need to get an order that would terminate wage assignments.
- In the absence of a formal agreement between spouses specifying that no adjustments will be made in spousal support, each party has the right to request an adjustment or cessation of spousal support payments due to a substantial change in circumstances.
Spousal support may very well be the worst financial burden in a divorce a partner might suffer. It is important that both parties are diligent in ensuring that spousal support is equal and fair. The best way to do so is to address the matter with your divorce Attorney in California. It’s the duty of your attorney to make sure you get or pay a reasonable amount of spousal support, and your divorce attorney is the best person to look out for your rights and your future.
Speak to Riverside Spousal Support Attorney Today
By getting a well-informed Riverside divorce lawyer and a professional family law expert, you will achieve a positive outcome in your case. If you are the partner supporting or obtaining support, an accomplished family law lawyer will passionately defend your support claims.