When married couples seek a divorce in the state of California, either spouse has the right to ask the judge for an order to receive alimony for a specific length of time (or indefinitely).  Alimony in California is also referred to as “maintenance” payment or “spousal support”.  Basically, it means that one spouse will need some financial assistance once the couple split.  Traditionally, it has been women who receive financial spousal support, but today alimony is granted to the spouse who mainly tends to the home and children, and/or who is not the main bread winner of the family, and who will be left at a financial disadvantage.

Child support in California is usually calculated, based on a mathematically formula provided by the state. You should seek legal advice from The Law Offices of Damian Nolan in regards to child support to ensure it is calculated fairly for both parties.  Spousal support works a little differently.  The couple is given the opportunity to agree on an amount of alimony payment, and then a judge will take this figure, as well as several other factors into account, to make the final decision.  The list of factors that are considered, regarding alimony payment include, but are not limited to:

  1. The current income of each spouse
  2. The financial needs of each spouse.
  3. Potential future earning capabilities of each spouse.
  4. The length of the marriage (as a marriage needs to last at least seven years for alimony payments to be a consideration).
  5. The standard of living for both parties during the marriage.
  6. Whether one party made a major contribution to the education and current income of the other spouse.
  7. Age is also taken into account, as well as
  8. The emotional and physical condition of each spouse, and their ability to eventually become financially self-sufficient.

Usually, alimony is paid in equal monthly installment.  It is possible, although not as common, for alimony to be granted in one lump sum payment.  More than likely, the pay-out is given in even installments, instead of one payment.  If the court chooses, alimony (as well as child support) payments will be paid to the court, and then passed onto the spouse entitled to financial support.  Payments, directly to the spouse, can also be ordered by the judge.

If significant life changes occur, spousal support can be modified or terminated.  For instance, if the paying party loses their current employment or if the supported spouse obtains high salaried employment, even if it is years after the divorce was finalized.

An unforeseen life change would be if the paying spouse dies.  An existing life insurance policy may be just the protection needed, for the spouse receiving the alimony payment to continue to live on a daily basis.  To secure future alimony payment, review current life insurance policies, and confirm that the receiving spouse is named as a beneficiary.  Disability insurance policies may offer this same type of continued alimony payment protection.

Also, in the state of california, a judge can issue a temporary order of alimony, while the divorce is in the process of being finalized.  The order for temporary alimony will cease, when the divorce is finalized.