In California, the court may award spousal support or alimony as part of a divorce agreement or decree. Sometimes, the divorcing spouses may mutually agree to terms of spousal support and put that into the divorce agreement. More often, a spouse in need of support will need to request this support from the court. It can be beneficial to have some idea of how spousal support is determined. Our San Jose spousal support attorneys may be able to help you understand California law and help you present your case for spousal support to the court.
Qualifications for Spousal Support
You do not have to be completely divorced or have your divorce finalized in order to claim or begin collecting spousal support. The court understands that a spouse in need of support may not have the financial means to wait through many months of divorce proceedings. It is possible to request spousal support while the divorce is pending or in the case of a legal separation.
The court will examine a variety of factors to determine if a spouse is entitled to support and the amount. Income and ability to pay are usually the most important factors. It is unreasonable for the court to award an alimony amount higher than a person can afford to pay. The needs of the spouse are the next most important factor. A spouse unable to work or with high medical needs, for example, may be entitled to more support. The court will also examine the relative nature of income during the marriage. For example, if one spouse supplied most of the income during the marriage, then they will likely be responsible for a higher amount of alimony support.
Calculating reasonable support can be complicated. An amount awarded by a judge is often determined by the evidence and argument a person can make in court. Our San Jose spousal support attorneys are here to assist you with determining a reasonable support amount and making a case to help you get that amount.
Term of Spousal Support
An award of spousal support often comes with a certain time frame attached to it. Our San Jose spousal support attorneys may assist you in determining what term of spousal support you may be entitled to.
Most types of spousal support are short term, rehabilitative payments. Their purpose is to provide an income buffer to one spouse while they adjust to living independently and providing for their own income. Short-term support generally lasts only a few years or half the length of the marriage, and the ending date is specified in the divorce agreement or court order. A person is likely to be awarded only short-term support if the marriage lasted for less than 10 years and if they are reasonably capable of supporting themselves.
Long-term or permanent support may be awarded in certain other conditions. The first condition is the length of the marriage. For marriages lasting longer than 10 years, the court generally does not set a termination date for alimony. Instead, the paying spouse will need to eventually prove alimony is no longer necessary, for example, if the other spouse got a higher paying job or remarried. Permanent support may also be awarded if the spouse is unlikely to ever return to work due to age or disability.
Contact Our San Jose Spousal Support Attorneys
Under most circumstances, a spouse in need of support is entitled to that support as soon as he or she separates or is no longer being supported financially by the other spouse. This can happen long before a divorce is finalized. It is important to consult with San Jose spousal support attorneys about getting a temporary spousal support order pending the final divorce decree. You may contact our team of San Jose spousal support attorneys at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen today for help regarding your divorce.