Spousal support may apply in your California divorce if you were married for any length of time. Commonly known as alimony, spousal support is a payment from a higher-earning spouse to the other to make their incomes and standard of living more equal.

While spousal support is based on statutory criteria, it is not automatically awarded or computed strictly by a formula. Whether you are negotiating alimony or taking the issue to court, it is critical to hire an experienced divorce attorney. The Law Offices of Teresa Beyers will aggressively assert your interests in this important financial matter.

Divorce And Alimony Lawyer Serving Greater L.A.

The rule of thumb for how long spousal support should be paid is one-half the duration of the marriage, but that is only a guideline. If you were married for just a year, the court might award alimony for no more than six months, if at all. If you were married for eight years, support might be granted for up to four years after the divorce. In long-term marriages of 10 years or more, permanent alimony may be ordered if the court deems it necessary and appropriate.

In the state of California, spousal support may be temporary, permanent, or rehabilitative. Each type is designed to help level the playing field between parting spouses, helping the lower-earning partner make the transition from living in a two-income home to a one-income home. Even though it may seem a bit unfair for the supporting spouse, the objective of spousal support is to put both partners in the marriage on a reasonably equal financial foundation when the marriage ends. Depending on the couple’s specific financial situation, that often means the payment of support to one spouse.

Temporary Spousal Support

Temporary support is commonly ordered in divorce cases. Generally, a judge may order temporary support to be paid to one spouse during the divorce process, with the order being entered from the request date and then transitioning over to permanent or rehabilitative support when the divorce becomes final. 

Temporary support allows the spouse who makes less to cover any expenses they might have during the divorce. Most commonly, divorce court judges rely on California’s child support guidelines to determine the amount of spousal support that should be paid. Keep in mind that even if the court award temporary support, that does not mean that it will award permanent or rehabilitative support in the final divorce decree.

Rehabilitative Spousal Support

The most common of the three types of spousal support, rehabilitative support is generally ordered when one spouse makes a lot more money than the other or was the primary breadwinner for the couple. This is sometimes the case when the other spouse primarily cared for the couple’s children and took care of their home for most of the marriage. Rehabilitative support provides monetary support to the lower-earning spouse to give them the time they need to learn a skill or get their education so that they can support themselves.

How long the lower-income spouse can receive rehabilitative support depends largely on the discretion of the judge and other factors, such as the length of the marriage. Usually, this type of spousal support lasts only long enough for the supported spouse to get the skills needed to get a job. If either party remarries or dies, support stops.

Permanent Spousal Support

Permanent spousal support is rare in most divorces, especially if the couple was married for less than 10 years. However, then the couple is married for a decade or more and the spouse with the lower income cannot enter the workforce because of illness or advanced age, permanent support may be ordered. Like rehabilitative support, when one of the spouses remarries or dies, permanent support stops.

Reimbursement Support

Would-be divorcees in California may also collect what is known as reimbursement support from the other spouse if they helped pay for the other spouse’s career training or education. For example, when the spouses both work to pay for medical school for one spouse and then decide to divorce. The courts look to reimburse the spouse who helped pay for the medical degree since they will no longer benefit from the degree. 

The rule of thumb for how long spousal support should be paid is one-half the duration of the marriage, but that is only a guideline. If you were married for just a year, the court might award alimony for no more than six months, if at all. If you were married for eight years, support might be granted for up to four years after the divorce. In long-term marriages of 10 years or more, permanent alimony may be ordered if the court deems it necessary and appropriate.

Alimony can be a useful tool in property settlement negotiations, but you may have to litigate if you cannot agree on the amount or whether spousal support is even warranted. The court considers many factors, including:

  • Length of marriage
  • Disparity in income
  • Education and earning capacity
  • Age and health
  • Accustomed standard of living
  • Sacrifices in raising children or supporting the spouse’s career

We encourage clients who are awarded spousal support to seek employment. You need a backup plan in case the other spouse retires, dies, or loses his/her job, in which case the support goes down or goes away entirely.

Experienced Representation For Spousal Support

Los Angeles spousal support lawyer Teresa Beyers has successfully represented clients in this complex arena, including alimony in high net worth divorces. She counsels either spouse in negotiations or contested proceedings in the Los Angeles County courts, and she can address modification, termination, or enforcement of orders for spousal support.

Ms. Beyers offers a free initial phone consultation and after-hours and weekend appointments.

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