Huntington Beach Spousal Support Lawyer2023-12-13T11:31:57+00:00

When a couple divorces, there are many difficult decisions that need to be made regarding children and finances, including spousal support. Also known as alimony, spousal support is a series of payments, or a lump sum payment, made by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse. The idea is to help make the transition from a two-income household to a one-income household more manageable for the less wealthy spouse. This allows both partners to begin the new chapter of their lives in a balanced financial situation.

Types of Spousal Support in California

California recognizes five different types of spousal support. Each serves a different purpose and is ordered based on the financial situation of each party:

  • Temporary alimony. Temporary spousal support is paid from one spouse to another while the couple is separated, but before the divorce is final. This type of alimony allows the receiving party to prepare themselves financially to become a one-income household.
  • Rehabilitative alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is similar to temporary alimony, but it can last past the finalization of the divorce. Rehabilitative spousal support is paid until the receiving party becomes self-supporting, such as while they are attending school or searching for a job. The judge may set a specific time period for this payment or set it to last until the time the other spouse is self-supporting.
  • Permanent alimony. Permanent alimony is spousal support that continues indefinitely or until the receiving spouse dies or is remarried. It is generally only awarded in situations where the receiving spouse is unable to work or has limited earning capacity for some reason, such as being disabled or having limited education.
  • Reimbursement alimony. This spousal support aims to reimburse one spouse for the contributions they made toward the expenses of the other. For instance, if one spouse paid for the other’s educational expenses while they supported the family, they may be ordered to repay these expenses following divorce.
  • Lump-sum alimony. Spousal support is fulfilled in one lump sum rather than spaced out in monthly payments. Paying alimony in this way is generally chosen by the payor rather than ordered by a judge. There are pros and cons of a lump sum payment for both parties to consider, which can be discussed with a spousal support attorney.

Enforcing Spousal Support Payments

Spousal support can be more difficult to enforce compared to child support. For child support, wage garnishing can be used to enforce payment, but this does not occur automatically for spousal support. If a person is not making their spousal support payments, an earning assignment can be ordered by the court. This is a payroll deduction that allows a payor’s employer to pay the receiving spouse directly.The receiving spouse could also take the non-paying spouse to court in a contempt case. A family law attorney can help spouses seeking alimony payments navigate the legal system to help ensure their payments are received.

Spousal Support Huntington Beach FAQs

Q: How Does California Determine Spousal Support?
Spousal support is determined on a case-by-case basis. A judge considers several factors to determine how much, if any, spousal support should be paid. Factors include the financial means and needs of both spouses and how their income and needs compare, the length of the marriage, the debts and assets of each spouse, and the job market skills of the supported spouse. Other factors may also be considered, and a lawyer can assist you in building a case that demonstrates your needs.

Q: Can Spousal Support Be Waived in California?
California law states that spousal support can be waived prior to the marriage in a prenuptial agreement. Spousal support can only be waived, though, if the terms are fair at the time of signing the agreement and if the signing spouse has independent legal counsel at the time of signing. There are alternative options to completely waiving all alimony rights in a prenuptial agreement, such as adding provisions that stipulate how long payments will be made or how much money the payments will be in the event of divorce.

Q: Can My Spouse Make Me Pay Their Divorce Attorney Fees in California?
California law doesn’t stipulate that one partner must pay the other’s attorney fees in a divorce proceeding. In some special circumstances, such as when a couple’s finances are extremely one-sided, a judge can issue an order to one spouse to pay the other’s legal fees. If you are granted temporary alimony, some of those funds could go toward legal fees. If you are planning to fight to have your ex-spouse pay the fees for your attorney, you should ask your attorney to file a motion with the court.

Q: Can I Appeal a Spousal Support Decision in California?
In California, you have two choices when it comes to changing a recently determined spousal support order — appeal or file a motion for reconsideration. An appeal is typically only useful if a legal mistake has been made that impacted the outcome of your case. You cannot present new information during an appeal.

Filing a motion for reconsideration is appropriate when new circumstances arise that could impact your ability to pay spousal support within ten days of being served with the original order. Any changes made more than ten days after the original order would be considered a modification of the order, which follows a different process.

Consult a Divorce Attorney About Spousal Support Concerns

Determining the initial spousal support payment amount or modifying the order can be a confusing process. Even in the most amicable divorces, there is a significant amount of paperwork and a legal process to follow to ensure everything is done correctly.

At the Dorie A. Rogers, APC, we specialize in family law. With over 30 years of experience helping families navigate the issues surrounding divorce, including paying and receiving spousal support, you can trust that you are in capable hands when working with our team. Contact us to discuss your situation and learn about your options when it comes to determining or modifying a spousal support order.

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