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Based in Marin County, CA and with offices that serve Walnut Creek, Napa, and the Greater Bay Area, Kaspar & Lugay LLP is a dynamic boutique law firm focusing exclusively on divorce and other family law matters.
Additionally, our experience in tax and business law matters allows us to effectively represent clients in high value divorce, spousal support, and high net worth family law cases.
Spousal support, commonly called alimony, is not automatic under California law . Conflicts may surface related to need and what amount is fair and reasonable in a given set of circumstances. It consists of monthly payments by a working spouse to help a dependent spouse become self-sufficient after a period of unemployment or under-employment during the marriage.
The process to determine spousal support involves more than a simple mathematical equation. If the parties are unable to settle their differences, the court will look at many different pieces of your lives and past relationship together:
However, the court will usually determine temporary alimony owed to a spouse based on a simple formula:
50% of Paying Spouse’s Net Income – 40% of Supported Spouse’s Net Income = Temporary Alimony
For example, courts in California may depend on a formula to decide how much alimony a spouse must pay through the course of a divorce hearing. This formula will form the base payment, but it is subject to change by the courts. Your attorney can argue to raise or lower the base payment by demonstrating that the calculation does not match your specific divorce situation.
California law recognizes alimony in two forms: permanent and temporary. Temporary spousal support is available before the divorce becomes final to maintain the status quo while the case remains in family court. Permanent spousal support can be agreed to by the parties or ordered by the court, but it is important to get it right at the time of divorce.
For as long as the court has jurisdiction, either party may conclude that due to changing circumstances deserve the alimony to be modified (either to raise or lower it). Changing circumstances could well include a severe loss of income for the paying spouse, or due to different living arrangements. However, seeking a post-dissolution modification of spousal support can be very difficult. It would be up to your attorney to help you present your case for modified alimony. One potential caveat: your alimony modification may not be allowed if both spouses have already agreed prior (either in writing or in oral agreement before a judge) not to leave alimony open to modification. If that isn’t the case, here are a few reasons your spousal support could be modified:
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