Alimony 101: How California Courts Determine Support Amounts

Alimony, which is often called spousal support, is one of the most misunderstood aspects of any divorce. To put it simply, alimony is a payment that one of the spouses pays to the other either for a set amount of time, or permanently, in order to help minimize the disruption to each party’s standard of living after the divorce. When determining how much alimony is paid, and for how long, the courts will look at many factors.

How Much Will be Paid

If the courts have determined that alimony is appropriate in your case, they will consider a lot of different facts when deciding how much will be paid. The following are among some of the most important items that are weighed in when determining payment amounts:

    • Income of Each Party – The biggest factor will be the income of each party. If there is a large disparity between the income of you and your spouse, it is likely that alimony will be awarded to the spouse who earns less.
    • Length of Marriage – The longer a marriage lasted, the more likely it is that alimony will be awarded, and the amount has the potential to be higher for longer marriages.
    • Capacity to Earn – The courts will look at how much each spouse should be able to earn in the current market, even if they aren’t currently working at the time of the divorce
    • Education – The educational experience of each party is an important factor.

    • Assets & Debts – The assets and debts that each party will be carrying after the divorce will determine how much alimony one side can afford to pay.
    •  Age & Health – The age and health of each spouse will not only be important for determining how much alimony is needed, but also how long the support will have to be paid.

Length of Alimony

In addition to determining how much alimony needs to be paid, the courts will also decide how long it must be paid. Each case differs by its own set of facts, but generally for long term marriages, the judge can award permanent alimony, which may be paid as long as both parties are living, or until the receiving party remarries or becomes self-supporting. For shorter term marriages, the judge may order that alimony gets paid for a set amount of time, usually one-half the length of the marriage, to help the receiving party get back on their feet. The courts can also award alimony until a set goal is achieved such as when the receiving party is seeking a degree, then the judge may award alimony until they have graduated.

Demand Justice in Spousal Support

Whether you want to avoid having to pay alimony to an undeserving spouse, or you want to make sure you get what you are entitled to, it is important to have experienced representation. Contact KL Family Law to go over your situation and schedule a consultation today.

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At KL Family Law, we understand that your primary concern is the well-being of your children. We strive to offer tailored solutions for your family law needs and help you move forward through this difficult transition.

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