Spousal Support

Spousal Support

Alimony Agreements in Divorce

Spousal support, also referred to as alimony, refers to monetary monthly payments made by one spouse to the other after a divorce. Spousal support is intended to ensure that both parties are able to maintain the same standard of living they shared during the marriage.

As a complex facet of family law, spousal support can be difficult to negotiate on your own. To ensure that you are prepared to put your best foot forward when negotiating the terms of a support arrangement or requesting a modification, call a legal professional at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich today. With experience in well over 5,000 cases, our Riverside divorce lawyers have seen it all – and we are ready to advocate on your behalf.

Set up a free consultation with our team to learn more!

Who Will Pay Alimony?

In the majority of cases, spousal support is paid by the party with a higher income to the other person for a predetermined period, with the purpose of allowing the receiving party a chance to get on stable ground financially. There are, however, cases in which the judge may order spousal support, even when both parties have a similar level of income, as a remedy for damage done during the marriage.

Factors Affecting Support Payments

Unlike child support, there is no formula for determining how much you will be required to pay in alimony; however, there are certain factors the judge will take into account. These typically relate to each party's income/earning capacity, although some factors weigh the quality of the former marriage. Be sure to consult with an attorney who can help you develop a favorable plan.

Factors that could affect your spousal support ruling include:

  • The current income of each party
  • Each party's earning capacity
  • Vocational skills, professional licenses and educational degrees
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The standard of living the couple shared during the marriage
  • Each party's contribution to the marriage
  • The age, physical and mental health of each party

How to Calculate Spousal Support

In order for alimony to be determined, there must be a court case. While the divorce or separation is going on, one spouse may petition for a temporary spousal support order if they cannot afford their lifestyle in the meantime. Upon coming to legal separation or divorce terms, the spousal support amount will be permanent.

For the most accurate information on how your support will be calculated, review your local court's rules, as rules differ by jurisdiction. According to California Family Code § 4320, the factors that a judge will make the alimony decision upon are as follows: the length of the marriage, the standard of living prior to divorce or separation, income, expenses, children, age and physical condition, any debts, any domestic violence present and tax impact. Spousal support is just one aspect of your divorce agreement.

Spousal support can easily become a key issue in a contested divorce, adding a significant amount of litigation and cost to the divorce. A Riverside divorce attorney can represent you throughout the process and fight to see that you aren't left with an alimony agreement that makes life difficult for you. Being granted too small a payment or being ordered to pay too much alike can cause financial hardship in the years following a divorce.

What If I Can't Afford to Pay Alimony?

The time span between when you filed for divorce and where you are at now may have seen a lot of changes. You may have come to a place where you can no longer afford to pay alimony, or at least not to the extent that you used to be. Maybe you are even concerned that your former spouse is abusing your payments and using them excessively rather than for necessity.

If you can no longer afford to make payments, the court can change a spousal support order by way of a modification. If your alimony agreement is modified, but you still have outstanding payments to be made, these debts do not simply disappear. Conversely, those who fail to pay alimony without petitioning for a modification may have their wages garnished or accrue penalties. Spousal support will end only on one of three circumstances: court order, death or remarriage.

Call a Certified Family Law Specialist!

Contact us at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich to speak with a seasoned divorce lawyer in Riverside. As a Certified Family Law Specialist with the California Board of Legal Specialization, Attorney Danica Hanich is highly qualified to provide the expert counsel and representation you need. Let our lawyers help you find a favorable resolution to your situation!

Call (951) 687-6003 today and request your initial consultation!