Divorce is a complex, emotionally stressful, and multifaceted legal process. Ending the marriage contract is just one aspect of the divorce process in California, and the state enforces some very strict legal statutes applicable to divorce cases. One of these is the state’s community property law, which requires divorcing spouses to evenly divide all of their shared marital property and debt in divorce. While this intends to provide the fairest possible outcome to property division in a divorce, it’s possible for some divorce cases to end with ongoing financial agreements between the divorced spouses, one of which being spousal support or alimony.
It’s natural to have lots of questions about how spousal support works in California, whether you expect to pay it to your ex or receive it from them. There are various ways alimony can be calculated, and there are also several ways in which one may disqualify themselves from receiving further payments. At the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, our team has helped many Newport Beach clients navigate complex divorce cases, including those in which alimony has come into play.
Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Newport Beach Spousal Support Lawyer
When you expect to owe alimony to your ex-spouse, it’s natural to want to minimize your financial obligation as much as possible, and the reverse is true for recipients who understandably seek to maximize their alimony payments. Whenever long-term financial agreements come into play in a divorce, it’s easy for the situation to devolve into a bitterly contested legal battle. The right attorney is an invaluable asset in this situation who can help you make more informed decisions and understand the situation more clearly.
Your Newport Beach spousal support attorney can help you navigate each aspect of your divorce case, from initial court filings through discovery, financial disclosure, and negotiations with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If you have a prenuptial contract in place, this document could act as a blueprint for your divorce and may even stipulate terms for spousal support. An experienced legal team can help you address the unique variables of your case and reach the best possible outcome.
Ultimately, you are far more likely to secure a favorable result in your divorce when you have reliable legal counsel advising you. While there is no strict legal requirement to hire an attorney for your divorce, doing so is well worth the investment when they can help you secure a divorce order that is suitable for your needs and goals. The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers believes in client-focused divorce representation, so we take time to learn as much as we can about each client’s unique circumstances to ensure we address their most pressing concerns in divorce proceedings.
How Is Alimony Determined in California?
Whether you want to avoid paying alimony if at all possible or maximize your spousal support payments from your ex, it’s vital to know how California determines alimony in a divorce. The community property law aims to minimize room for dispute when it comes to property division. Both spouses can keep their respective shared property and then divide all shared property and debt. However, a judge may determine that one spouse is financially disadvantaged and entitled to ongoing spousal support, or a divorcing spouse may seek alimony in their divorce petition.
The usual formula used to calculate appropriate alimony payments in a California divorce begins by taking about 40% of the income of the higher-earning spouse and then subtracting about 50% of the income of the lower-earning spouse. The result can form a baseline negotiating position to determine alimony. For example, if a higher-earning spouse earns $10,000 every month and a lower-earning spouse earns $4,000 every month, the alimony calculation would be 40% of $10,000, which would be $4,000, and then subtracting 50% of $4,000, which would be $2,000. $4,000 minus $2,000 would be $2,000, so this is about what the divorcing spouses could expect when it comes to their alimony agreement.
It’s important to remember that this formula can simply offer a baseline for negotiation purposes; it is not a hard-and-fast required calculation for alimony. Additionally, every alimony agreement will include unique terms and conditions. For example, if you are entitled to receive alimony from your ex, the agreement will stipulate how much you will receive, how often you should expect to receive payments, and how long payments will continue. The agreement will also highlight terminating actions or actions that would disqualify you from receiving further payments.
How to Resolve Alimony in a Newport Beach Divorce Case
The majority of divorcing couples in California take advantage of alternative dispute resolution options like mediation and collaborative divorce to avoid the time and expense required to litigate. If you and your spouse are both agreeable to the thought of privately negotiating divorce terms, alternative dispute resolution is likely the best option for you. If you reach an impasse in your negotiations, you can move to litigation and have a family court judge resolve any outstanding issues.
Orange County Spousal Support FAQs
Q: What Disqualifies a Spouse From Alimony?
A: Some people believe that if a spouse is unfaithful, they do not qualify for alimony. While this may be true in some U.S. states, this is not the case in California. Alimony determinations hinge on financial details, and the purpose of alimony in a Newport Beach divorce is to ensure the supported spouse has the support they need to manage their living expenses.
Q: Can Alimony End Early?
A: If you are required to pay alimony, you must make your payments on time and in full until the agreement expires. However, certain terminating actions can end an alimony arrangement early. If either ex-spouse dies, the alimony agreement ends. If the recipient remarries or starts living with a new partner, this may also disqualify them from receiving future alimony payments. Consult your Newport Beach spousal support attorney if you think your agreement has terminated early for any reason.
Q: Can I Change an Alimony Order?
A: It’s possible to request a modification to your alimony order in light of unexpected life events, such as job loss or a medical emergency. If the court deems your request reasonable and necessary, a judge can alter or terminate your alimony agreement to reflect recent changes in your life.
Q: What Happens If I Don’t Pay Alimony?
A: While the thought of paying your ex-spouse every month may be hard to accept, refusing to pay alimony would be a direct violation of a lawful family court order and could lead to contempt of court. If you are unconvinced that your alimony agreement is fair, your Newport Beach spousal support lawyer can help you determine the best possible solutions.
Get Professional Legal Help
The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers can answer your most pressing legal questions concerning alimony and other aspects of divorce. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with an experienced Newport Beach spousal support attorney.
“Dorie is a very powerful attorney and a great asset to have on your side in any family legal matter. She is extremely bright and insightful, and I got everything I asked for in my lawsuit.”
“I would strongly recommend Ms. Dorie Rogers for any legal needs. During my Divorce proceedings, Dorie’s professionalism, expertise in Divorce Law and legal skill helped bring my case to a close in both a timely and mutually agreeable manner.
Additionally, Dorie took the time to understand me and my background to better represent me in my case. She showed a level of caring and concern that helped me through a very difficult time. She is an outstanding lawyer and wonderful person.”
“Second to none – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dorie to anyone. She was my attorney for my divorce and custody case. She will do everything it takes to get the job done and all with a smile on her face. Her knowledge and expertise will assist anyone in a family law situation get the results they want.”
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