If you plan to seek spousal support (alimony) in your divorce or your spouse is seeking it, that’s obviously something that’s on your mind. However, the amount of support generally isn’t determined until after you’ve worked out the division of your assets.
Spousal support is intended to help prevent the spouse who earns less money or who doesn’t earn an income at all from being unduly impacted financially by the divorce. Often, one spouse will receive what’s called “rehabilitative” alimony until they’re able to get the training or job experience they need to adequately support themselves. In some instances, a court may order “permanent” alimony that continues until the recipient spouse remarries or dies.
Spouses may be able to work out a spousal support agreement on their own, with the help of their attorneys. If they’re unable to do that, a judge will need to determine the amount and length of alimony payments. Under California law, they will consider things like:
- Both spouses’ earning abilities and overall financial conditions
- Both spouses’ ages and health
- How long the couple was married
- The couple’s standard of living while they were married
A spousal support order may involve more than a monthly payment (or even an upfront lump-sum payment). For example, it might require the paying spouse to have a life insurance and/or disability insurance policy that will protect the recipient spouse if anything happens to their ex.
There are a lot of things to consider if you are seeking spousal support. You want to do whatever you can to help ensure that you’ll get the support you need for as long as you need it.
Both spouses also have the option to seek a modification to the support order when circumstances change. Your attorney can advise you regarding whether your changed circumstances or that of your former spouse may qualify for a modification in support payments.