Understanding spousal support is one of the most important factors of a divorce. You may be wondering if you will need to pay your ex-spouse, or if you will be entitled to receive support. As an Orange County divorce attorney with extensive experience in this field, I can properly address all of your questions and concerns in this regard, whether you are being asked to pay alimony or you are interested in receiving support from your former spouse after your divorce. Call Kevin B. Gibbs, APLC today and speak with a board-certified family law specialist.
Know the Law on Spousal Support and Alimony
Unlike child support, spousal support is not calculated through a fixed formula. Rather, California's alimony laws are largely subjective. For this reason, spousal support is typically one of the most highly contested aspects of divorce. When facing an issue concerning spousal support, it is important for individuals to be informed about the law and what resolving the matter will entail. Some of the things to consider in regard to alimony include:
- Potential for support to be awarded
- How long the support will last
- When it can be terminated
- Whether or not it can be modified
Because spousal support affects both spouses and may also affect any children involved, it is important that support agreements are handled carefully and fairly. If spouses are on good terms, spousal support may be worked out amicably without court intervention. Divorce mediation is one way of resolving spousal support and other family law issues without lengthy court hearings and expensive attorney assistance.
How Do I Start Spousal Support?
To officially start spousal support in California, you must ask a judge to make a court order. With a temporary spousal support order, you may even ask for support while a case is ongoing. When spousal support is ordered after a divorce or legal separation is finalized, it is known as permanent/long-term spousal support. In any case, spousal support is formally petitioned by filing paperwork with the court. Spousal support requests can be made under a number of different circumstances, including divorce, annulment or legal separation.
Making Changes to Spousal Support
Alimony agreements are not set in stone. Unexpected circumstances and other changes may make a spousal support order unreasonable or ineffective at meeting the needs of spouses. Whether arrangements have been made between spouses on their own, through mediation, or by court order, a spouse may petition to change or end a spousal support agreement. Speak with an Orange County family law attorney about your agreement modification options.
Spousal support agreements can be changed or ended in a few situations:
- A judge making a court order
- One of the spouses/domestic partners dies
- The person receiving support remarries/registers a new domestic partnership
What factors are considered in determining spousal support?
When a judge makes a decision about spousal support, they weigh many factors of a particular situation. Because court-ordered spousal support takes information about each spouse into account, it is important to have vital information readily available. If this information is not properly prepared, a spousal support may take longer to be fulfilled, or may fail to meet fair standards of support for the parties involved. The factors used to determine spousal support include:
- Each spouse's earning ability
- Each spouse's level of education
- The age and health of the parties
- The amount of time each spouse spent raising children during marriage
- The length of the marriage
- The spouse's standard of living during the marriage
Discuss Your Case with a Divorce Lawyer in Orange County, CA
With my experience and training as a certified family law attorney, I have the knowledge and experience to represent your interests under state spousal support laws. I can also assist you with enforcement of spousal support through wage garnishment and other actions after your divorce, as well as post-judgment modification of support if a significant change in circumstances has made your original arrangement no longer possible.
"I used Mr. Gibbs for my divorce. He was great, very knowledgeable and professional! He was excellent at letting me know the options I had and pointing me in the best direction. He was upfront and honest about outcomes. I was very happy with his service."Joshua Lott
"I could not have asked for a better experience in the midst of a bad situation than working with Mr. Gibbs. He was honest and fair and patient and kind."Rebecca Sterling
"He is a great family law attorney and I would definitely recommend him to a friend or family member in need."Les D.