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Spousal Support / Alimony

Protecting Your Property in a High Asset Divorce

Protecting Finances In Spousal Support Disputes

Diligently Taking The Steps Necessary To Protect Your Finances
In many ways, the most important step in evaluating spousal support and  child support  matters is identifying the assets involved in the marriage. Our lawyers are accomplished in knowing how, and where, to look for hidden assets and hidden income in an asset search. In order to properly calculate spousal support matters, the numbers upfront must be appropriate. In addition, tax implications can play a role, and we ensure clients do not receive an unpleasant tax surprise down the road.

As skilled negotiators and experienced trial attorneys, we help our clients move forward with confidence following divorce. We aggressively guard the interests of our clients in negotiations and court proceedings, whether that means obtaining a fair spousal support award or limiting the amount of a spousal support obligation.

If facing divorce in the North Bay, including Marin County and the surrounding areas,  contact us online  or call our Corte Madera office at 415-789-5881 to arrange a consultation.

What is Spousal Support

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.

What factors are considered in determining spousal support

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:

  • The salary of each party
  • Whether the supporting party is able to pay spousal support
  • Length of marriage
  • Age and health of both spouses
  • Documented history of domestic violence, if any
  • Whether or not working will interfere with caring for dependent children

 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.

What types of spousal support Are There

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.

What can be done to modify Spousal Support

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:

  • Loss of income
  • Change in lifestyle
  • Sudden increase in income
  • Child support modifications