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How is Alimony Determined in California?

Dec. 19, 2021

Man giving alimony to his ex-wife at homeDue to the financial implications of a divorce or legal separation, spousal support is awarded to help the spouses maintain the financial standard of living established during the marriage. The California courts can order the higher-earning spouse to make a predetermined payment to their estranged partner. An experienced California family law attorney can help evaluate your unique situation and help you understand how spousal support is determined.

Attorney Karen S. Brown has devoted her career to offering experienced legal guidance and reliable advocacy to individuals and families in the legal matters of divorce and alimony. She can discuss your unique circumstances, explore your available options, and help educate you about how alimony is determined. Attorney Karen S. Brown can guide you through the legal process involved in establishing or modifying spousal support arrangements and help you make intelligent decisions.

The Law Office of Karen S. Brown proudly serves clients across Los Angeles County, Ventura County, San Bernardino County, Encino, Beverly Hills, and Long Beach, California.

Spousal Support in California

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a court-ordered financial provision from the higher-earning spouse ("payor spouse") to the lower- or non-earning spouse ("supported spouse") during the divorce proceedings or for a period after the divorce. The purpose of alimony is to eliminate any unfair economic consequences of the divorce or help the recipient spouse become self-supportive, if possible.

Types of Alimony in California

There are several types of alimony available to be awarded by courts in California, including:

Temporary Alimony

Temporary alimony is a predetermined financial payment made by the higher-earning spouse to help the lower-earning spouse with attorney fees and other daily costs of living while the divorce proceedings are on. Once the divorce is finalized, temporary alimony will end automatically.

Permanent Alimony

Permanent alimony or "long-term support" is a financial provision from the payor spouse to the supported spouse to help maintain the financial standard of living (or something similar) established during the marriage even after the divorce. California courts may award permanent alimony in longer marriages where one spouse needs financial assistance due to old age, severe illness, or disability.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is a financial payment from the higher-earning spouse to help the other spouse become self-supporting. The payor spouse will continue making rehabilitative payments until the recipient spouse completes their education, college degree, acquires additional job skills, or secures a job.

Reimbursement Alimony

Reimbursement alimony is awarded in situations where one spouse funds the education, skill acquisition, or job training of the other spouse. Thus, the California courts will require the spouse that was assisted to reimburse the other spouse through alimony payments.

A knowledgeable attorney can enlighten you about the type of alimony that suits your unique situation and how to determine the amount and duration of spousal support.

Factors Considered When Determining the Type, Amount, and Duration of Alimony

According to California law, the following factors are considered to determine the type, amount, and duration of alimony:

  • The length of the marriage

  • The age, physical condition, and mental health of the spouses

  • The marketable skills of the supported spouse

  • The financial needs of both spouses based on their marital standard of living

  • The earning capacity, assets, and standard of living of the paying spouse

  • The ability of the paying spouse to pay spousal support

  • The obligations (debts) and assets of both spouses, including separate property

  • The expenses and time needed for the recipient spouse to complete their training, education, or acquire a skill

  • The extent to which the supported spouse contributed to the completion of a career, education, license, or job training of the paying spouse

Every divorce case is unique. An experienced attorney can help evaluate your situation and work diligently with all parties involved to determine a fair alimony amount.

Turn to a Skilled Attorney for Help

Filing for divorce in California involves a lot of complicated procedures. Agreeing on a divorce settlement or establishing spousal support arrangements with your ex-spouse can make the whole process even more complex. Therefore, when considering a divorce, you need to speak with an experienced family law attorney to receive proper guidance on alimony arrangements.

Attorney Karen S. Brown has the skill, experience, and diligence to help individuals and couples navigate the complexities of divorce proceedings. As your legal counsel, she will help evaluate your unique situation and explore your available legal options. Whether you are trying to establish alimony payments or change an existing spousal support agreement, Attorney Karen S. Brown can help guide you through every phase of the legal process.

Contact the Law Office of Karen S. Brown today to schedule a simple consultation with an experienced spousal support attorney. Attorney Karen S. Brown has the knowledgeable legal guidance and reliable advocacy you need to navigate decisions in your divorce. The firm is proud to serve clients across Los Angeles County, Ventura County, San Bernardino County, Encino, Beverly Hills, and Long Beach, California.