Post-divorce finances are a major concern for Santa Clara County couples going through a marital breakup. You may have enjoyed a certain lifestyle while married that you want to maintain after divorce. The concerns are particularly acute when there is a large income disparity between the spouses. In such situations, California law may require one spouse to financially support the other during the divorce process and/or after the divorce is over. Courts refer to this as spousal support, and you may also hear it referred to as alimony; spousal support and alimony are the same thing, alimony being an older and mostly outdated term.    

What Is the Purpose of Spousal Support?

Spousal support or alimony is meant to make the transition from married to single life easier for the lower-earning spouse. It is meant to prevent a non-working or low-earning spouse from falling into a precarious financial situation after divorce. While most people in the Mountain View area understand the need for alimony to exist in some cases, that does not mean the issue is simple. In fact, spousal support can be one of the most contentious issues in any Silicon Valley divorce.

Spousal Support Is Not Automatic

California courts do not automatically award spousal support. Instead, the party seeking support must petition the court. If you are seeking support, you will be expected to introduce evidence as to why you need support, how much you need, and for how long. If you are the party who may obligated to pay, you will have the opportunity to present your arguments as well.

Types of Spousal Support/Alimony in California

If spousal support is likely to be an issue in your Mountain View divorce, your attorney will help you understand all the different possible scenarios for payments under California law. At a basic level, the possibilities include the following:

How Judges Calculate Spousal Support

There is no rigid formula for calculating support. Rather, judges are given broad discretion to determine an amount that seems appropriate in each case. Judges are required by law to consider many factors when making a spouse support determination. Some of the most important factors are the length of the marriage, the earning power of each spouse, the standard of living during marriage, and the ages of the parties. The California Courts website offers in-depth details on this topic.

Modifying and Terminating Spousal Support

Changes in circumstances can necessitate changes to spousal support payments. For example, if the paying spouse loses his/her job, the payments may need to be drastically reduced. Modifying support orders is notoriously difficult, but our attorneys have a strong record of success in doing so. We also help clients seek termination of spousal support, for example, when the recipient spouse gets a good job and no longer has a genuine need to receive support.

Contact Our Mountain View Alimony and Spousal Support Attorneys

The attorneys at the Mountain View office of Kaspar & Lugay, LLP has extensive legal and financial experience to help protect your lifestyle during and after divorce. Whether you are obligated to pay or are entitled to receive payments, we will work to ensure that you are treated fairly. Call 415-650-1322 or contact us online to speak with our Santa Clara County law firm.