San Bernardino Spousal Support Attorney
If you are having problems with spousal support, you can talk to a credible spousal support attorney in San Bernardino.
Spousal Support Overview
The court could order temporary spousal support after separation in order to maintain the status quo of the parties during the divorce proceedings. The court may also order permanent spousal support based on the circumstances of each party. The court must take into account:
- The living conditions they enjoyed throughout the marriage;
- the respective needs of each party;
- The jurisdiction to make payments.
Although there are 14 statutory criteria that the court must consider before ordering permanent spousal support, the possibility of ordering spousal support, the amount and duration of the support are not within the jurisdiction of the court.
Spousal support has been specifically linked to domestic violence in the days before the introduction of no-fault divorce. In other words, the State granted spousal maintenance to punish a “guilty” partner who had allegedly violated the marital relationship. In most jurisdictions, the law on no-fault divorce has waived the right to the idea of spousal support. However, spousal support is usually the last piece of the financial puzzle to be solved in a divorce, after custody of the children and distribution of assets has been completed.
While some states have few time limits for spousal support, others make it almost impossible. The Golden State lies somewhere between these two extremes. While there is the possibility of truly sustainable support, it is not all that is common today.
Factors the Court Takes Into Account When Determining Spousal Support
The amount and duration of spousal support under California Family Code § 4320 are factors calculated as follows:
- If the partner claiming spousal support makes a substantial contribution to the education, employment, certification, or career of the other;
- whether each partner, based on his or her earning capacity, would be able to maintain the same defined standard of living during the marriage;
- Each spouse has a separate estate;
- The responsibilities of each party and their assets;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The willingness of the party providing support to make ordered spousal support payments based on employment, property, standard of living and earning capacity;
- Whether the spouse claiming spousal support will function without substantially prejudicing the interests of the minor children in his or her care;
- The age of all partners;
- The health of all spouses;
- Consideration of the moral energy resulting from domestic violence;
- Tax implications for both partners if spousal support is granted;
- The hardships endured by one or both partners;
- Whether or not a spouse in need of support can become self-sufficient within a reasonable period of time (usually half the length of the marriage), and
- There are certain factors that the court may consider to be fair.
Is There a Ten-Year Rule in the State of California?
Although the public may believe that California has a “ten-year law” that gives the partner the right to permanent support in a marriage of at least ten years, this is not true. However, a marriage that has lasted ten years or more is an important outcome that may affect the court’s ability to reconsider spousal support at a later stage.
In addition, in California, spousal support can, as a general rule, be claimed for one-half the length of a marriage that lasted less than ten years. The duration of support is not specified in marriages that last longer than 10 years. Another option is to pressure the paying partner to convince the court that spousal support may become excessive in the future. The court has a great deal of flexibility in terms of the duration of spousal support, but the general principle is that the recipient partner is entitled to spousal support only as long as takes to become self-sufficient.
Although in California spousal support, which is awarded in the context of a long-term marriage, may be considered “permanent”, in practice it is extremely rare for a California judge to grant spousal support on a fully permanent basis. If the receiving partner reports an inability to work or becomes totally dependent, the evidence must support this claim. Long-term spousal support orders are usually reduced to a very small amount gradually over time. In other words, if the court does not end spousal assistance on a fixed date, it may also set an end date that will take effect unless the person receiving assistance requests an extension before that date.
Are Alimony and Spousal Support the Same Thing?
In theory, alimony and spousal support are the same thing. Over the years, the term “support” has been phased out and replaced by what is known as the most common nomenclature, “spousal support”. Some states use the term “spousal support”. The State of California generally uses the term “spousal support” to refer to payments made by one partner to another after a divorce. After the loss of alimony, the alimony cannot be reinstated. If the recipient wants an extension of support, he or she must apply for a variation before the agreement expires. If the supporting partner confirms one of the conditions for automatic termination, the support ends permanently.
Spousal support can be paid after a divorce from a husband to a wife or from a wife to a husband. The general principle is that the more financially capable partner must pay the other before the receiving partner can be self-sufficient and function as before the marriage. In some cases, a spouse may not have sufficient work experience or may have been unemployed for a long period of time, making it impossible for that spouse to find a job and maintain the same quality of life that he or she enjoyed when married without assistance. Alimony may be paid in a lump sum or on a permanent or temporary basis. The court usually has to weigh each partner’s situation to determine how much support is needed and for how long.
Do All Divorces Include Spousal Support?
There is a common misconception that a partner should always receive spousal support in a divorce. Also, because most divorces ordered by the courts are non-contentious, it is difficult to determine the amount of spousal support ordered by the court in a divorce. As long as the spousal agreement meets all Golden state’s legal criteria, it is likely that the court will uphold the agreement – even if the low-income partner has a compensatory provision in the agreement.
Some figures put the number of divorcing couples currently receiving support at only 10-15%. Short-term assistance will be provided in California when the divorce is in progress. This temporary assistance is known as “ongoing litigation support”.
How is Temporary Spousal Support Calculated in the California Family Courts?
A formula is used to evaluate a conditional spousal support contract in the State of California taking into account the needs of the requesting spouse and the ability of the paying spouse, to pay. For example, 50% of the income of the spouse with the lowest income is deducted from 40% of the income of the spouse with the highest income in Santa Clara County.
Adjustments for tax consequences and child protection are then taken into account in the calculation. The court will then reinstate what it deems to be a reasonable amount of temporary spousal support. The marketable skills of the applicant spouse will be taken into account, as well as the existing labor market for the spouse’s skills as a whole. In addition, the court must recognize the potential time and cost that the person claiming spousal support would need to obtain the education or training necessary to obtain employment.
Some Interesting Facts Regarding California Spousal Support
Most people who can obtain or be ordered to pay for spousal assistance have many concerns about California’s spousal support legislation. Here are some facts about marital assistance in California:
- The paying partner is entitled to retire in the state of California at age 65 and will not be able to continue paying spousal support beyond that age. If a paying partner is forced to take early retirement due to a medical condition or other situation beyond his or her control, this may also result in the termination of spousal support payments.
- If the paying partner earns a substantial increase after the divorce, that increase cannot be considered retroactive for the purposes of supplementary spousal support.
- If the paying partner has experienced a substantial reduction in income due to an accidental termination or medical condition, the amount of spousal support is reduced or eliminated.
- If the payor partner runs his or her own business and the profits of the business have been significantly reduced, the amount of spousal support may be reduced.
- If there is an annual “cap” on the amount of spousal support paid, monthly bonuses or overtime payments may be added to the amount of spousal support paid in some cases.
- If the recipient partner receives a significant salary increase, the payor partner may have a legal right to limit or even terminate the amount of spousal support.
- If support is being sought from a recipient who appears to have no interest in being self-sufficient, the paying partner has the right to ask the judge to order a professional assessment. Courts are often empowered to award a “phantom” benefit to the recipient partner in a situation where it appears that the recipient partner is deliberately refusing to work.
- Similarly, the receiving partner may claim a disability due to stress or depression that prevents him or her from returning to work. While this can certainly be a genuine disability, an independent medical examination is recommended to assess the type of work the host partner has available to him or her.
- The amount of support may be determined in part by the amount of assets provided to the person receiving assistance.
- A declaration of bankruptcy is unlikely to result in the paying partner fulfilling his or her spousal support responsibilities.
- Support is generally a tax benefit to the paying partner, while the receiving partner is required to pay refund taxes.
- When a person receiving support is living with a new romantic partner, the paying spouse can ask the court to reduce or cancel the support completely.
- If the receiving partner remarries, the obligation to pay spousal support stops immediately. However, if such an order was in effect, the paying partner would have to get an order to stop the payment.
- In the absence of a formal agreement between the spouses that no adjustment of spousal support will be made, either party has the right to request an adjustment or termination of spousal support because of a material change in circumstances.
Alimony can be the worst financial burden in a divorce that a partner can suffer. It is important that both parties work diligently to ensure that spousal support is fair and equitable. The best way to do this is to discuss the matter with your divorce attorney in California. It is your lawyer’s duty to make sure that you receive or pay a reasonable amount of spousal support, and your divorce attorney is the best person to look after your rights and your future.
Speak to San Bernardino Spousal Support Attorney Today
Getting a well-informed San Bernardino divorce Attorney and Professional Family Law Expert on your team will help you achieve a positive result in your matter. If you are the partner who supports or gets supported, an accomplished family law attorney would defend your spousal support claims with passion.