Is Alimony Guaranteed in California?
Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is a court-mandated payment from one spouse to the other after a divorce or legal separation. Alimony is critical in a divorce settlement, especially when one spouse earns significantly more than the other. It helps ensure that the lesser-earning spouse can maintain a similar standard of living after the divorce.However, alimony is not guaranteed in California, but it may be awarded under certain circumstances. The court considers several factors when deciding whether to award spousal support, including the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of each spouse, and the standard of living during the marriage.
Let’s examine the factors that influence a court’s decision to award spousal support in California.
Length of Marriage
One of the critical factors the court considers when awarding alimony in California is the length of the marriage. Generally, the longer the marriage, the higher the court’s likelihood of awarding spousal support. For marriages that lasted less than ten years, the court may award alimony for half of the marriage upon reviewing the relevant information.
Income and Earning Capacity of Each Spouse
The court considers each spouse’s income and earning capacity when awarding alimony. If one spouse earns significantly more than the other, the court may award alimony to help the other spouse maintain the marital standard of living.
The court also considers the earning capacity of each spouse by assessing their job skills, job market demand for the skills, the training the lower-earning spouse needs to develop skills, and how their caregiving responsibilities affected their ability to earn during the marriage.
Supporting Spouse’s Ability to Pay
If the spouse who would be paying alimony does not have the financial resources to make payments, the court may not award alimony.
Standard of Living During the Marriage
The court considers the standard of living during the marriage when awarding alimony. If the couple enjoyed a high standard of living during the marriage, the court may award alimony to help the lower-earning spouse maintain that standard of living.
Age and Health of Each Spouse
The court also considers the age and health of both spouses when awarding alimony. If one of the spouses is older or in poor health, they may have a more challenging time earning income and may be awarded alimony to maintain their lifestyle.
Financial Assets and Debts of Each Spouse
When awarding alimony, the court considers each spouse’s financial assets and debts. If one spouse has significantly more assets than the other, the court may award alimony to help the other spouse maintain a similar standard of living.
Couple’s Minor Children
In California, the court recognizes that when a couple has minor children, the cost of raising those children can significantly impact the financial situation of both parties. When a couple has children, the court considers their needs while deciding on alimony. Child support may be prioritized over alimony payments, and the amount of child support may affect the available income for alimony.
When child support is involved, it reduces the net income available to pay spousal support. The court considers this and determines alimony only after the child support award has been decided.
History of Domestic Violence
Under California Law, individuals convicted of a recent felony for domestic violence, sexual assault against their spouse or children, or attempted murder of their spouse are not eligible to receive alimony or spousal support.
What is the Gavron Warning in Divorce Proceedings?
The Gavron warning is a notice the court gives to the spouse receiving alimony, informing them that they must become self-sufficient. The Gavron warning helps prevent the supported spouse from becoming overly reliant on alimony payments, which could result in the court terminating the payments.
The concept originated from a California divorce case in 1988, Marriage of Gavron, in which the court decided that the receiving spouse should be responsible for becoming self-sufficient after a reasonable amount of time.
Speak to an Experienced Alimony Attorney in San Bernardino, California Today
While alimony is not guaranteed in California, the court considers various factors when deciding whether to award it. If you are going through a divorce or legal separation in California and are concerned about alimony, contact the qualified and experienced alimony attorney at The Law Office of Joyce Holcomb at (909) 889-7111 today. We can provide the guidance and support you need throughout the process and protect your rights and interests.