It used to be called alimony, and is sometimes referred to as maintenance. Whatever you call it, spousal support remains an important legal tool in California. It helps ensure that neither spouse will suffer long-term financial harm due to divorce.
Times Have Changed, And So Has Spousal Support
At one time, men almost invariably paid spousal support and women received it. That’s no longer the case. Many women are now earning more than their husbands, and a growing number of spousal support awards reflect that.
It also used to be common for alimony to be a lifelong obligation. Now, limited duration spousal support is the preferred legal remedy of many judges.
Finally, awarding alimony was once the rule rather than the exception. But with most men and women now working outside the home, there is no automatic assumption of alimony. It must be ordered by a judge based on a number of important considerations.
How Support Works
Spousal support must be established through a court petition. It will not be automatically ordered. When it is established, a judge may decide to award payments during the divorce process (referred to as temporary spousal support) and/or after the divorce has been finalized. The duration of spousal support post-divorce is based on the length of the marriage as well as other considerations.
Support orders can be modified over time unless a couple originally agreed to make the order unchangeable.
Why You Need An Attorney
Regardless of whether you need to receive spousal support or are trying to avoid paying it, it is wise to seek the help of an experienced lawyer. At States Family Law, I help clients present the strongest arguments for why spousal support is or is not appropriate in their case.
Moreover, if spousal support is awarded, I will work to ensure that the award amount meets the income you need (if receiving) or the payment you can afford (if paying). Although formulas are often used in setting amounts, they do not always accurately reflect an individual’s financial circumstances.
In short, spousal support can be a complicated area of law. As such, you need the help and guidance of a highly experienced family law attorney.
Contact The Firm To Learn More
Located in Sacramento, States Family Law offers high-quality legal representation and personalized attention to all clients. To discuss your legal needs, call me at 916-696-2425 or fill out this online contact form.