A Los Angeles man was recently involved in a divorce that cost him roughly $100,000. Under his divorce arrangement, he will have to pay spousal support indefinitely if his ex-wife does not remarry.
He is calling for alimony reform, arguing that the current California alimony scheme was developed at a time when many women were not in the work force. Today, however, women make up roughly half of the working population, so he believes that the laws should be revised.
The man argues that spousal support for stay-at-home moms should be judged on a case-by-case basis, and the payments should taper off over a five-year period.
Current Spousal Support Law in California
Under current law, the Court can order one spouse to pay the other a specified amount of money on a monthly basis. This is commonly known as spousal support or alimony. Temporary spousal support is used while the case is pending and permanent or long-term spousal support may continue indefinitely.
Local courts will use different variables to determine the amount of the temporary spousal support, but every California court is required to consider the same factors when determining permanent or long-term spousal support.
Determining Spousal Support
The factors are designed to allow both parties the ability to maintain the same lifestyle that they had before the marriage ended. It also attempts to balance income between the two parties, especially if one spouse makes significantly more money than the other.
The court is required to consider the following factors:
- Income needs based on their prior standard of living
- Length of the marriage
- Income contribution (what each spouse can pay toward maintaining their own standard of living)
- Earning capacity (the potential to earn more money if the spouse got another job or got more education)
- Child care and the effect of a new job or education on child care
- Debts and property
- Health and age of both spouses (which also affects earning capacity)
- Spousal support’s impact on tax obligations
- Whether one spouse helped the other get an education or excel in their current job or business
- Any instances of domestic violence or other abuse
Changing or Ending Spousal Support
Once the spousal support amount has been determined, it can only be changed if there is a significant change in circumstances. Otherwise, it does not end until the court orders an end, one of the spouses passes away, or the person who receives the support gets remarried.
Our attorneys at Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin are highly qualified to help you work through a divorce that involves contested spousal support. We welcome your call today at (209) 522-2211 to discuss your legal options.