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When Do Judges Award Alimony?

What makes a marriage last? Ask this question to a hundred spouses, and you will likely start to see commonalities in the responses. For many happily married couples, trust plays a big role in the marriage. However, when couples decide to file for divorce, that trust can be called into question, especially as each spouse begins to analyze what their financial situation will look like as a single person once the divorce is finalized.

In some instances, a couple will choose to divorce while still on good terms, with a relatively balanced financial situation. However, in a number of cases, the reality is that for one spouse, the earning potential they have as an individual is significantly less than their partner. This can mean the threat of entering into a standard of living that is drastically different from the one they enjoyed while married. In these cases, spouses often make the decision to employ the services of an experienced local divorce attorney.

A divorce attorney can help spouses review their assets and debts in an attempt to provide a clear picture to a divorce court on why one spouse should provide monetary support to the other after the divorce is finalized. Known as “alimony” or “spousal support,” these monetary payments can be made on a routine basis or in certain predetermined amounts. By helping spouses understand California’s alimony laws, an experienced divorce attorney can prepare individuals to bring their case before the court. The following is some baseline information on how judges determine alimony awards in California.

Factors that Influence Alimony in California

As previously mentioned, alimony is the term given to the financial support of one ex-spouse (i.e. the “dependant spouse”) by the other spouse. Therefore, it may not be a surprise to learn that the income and earning potential of each spouse is a major factor considered by divorce judges in California. However, other factors are also considered, including:

  • Contributions made by one spouse to further the educational or career advancement of the other.
  • The current standard of living experienced by each spouse in the marriage, and the relative needs that would resemble that standard post-divorce.
  • The mental and physical health of each spouse, including age.
  • The length of the marriage.
  • The tax implications that alimony would have on each spouse.
  • How much time would be reasonably needed for the dependent spouse to become gainfully employed and thus no longer need alimony.
  • Any prior history of abuse, neglect, or criminal behavior from either spouse.
When to Contact an Attorney

For many spouses, it can be easy to present certain factors to the court, such as the income and earning potential of each spouse. However, many factors considered by the courts require the diligent attention of an experienced divorce attorney. For years, the attorneys at SAC Attorneys have been helping spouses in San Jose navigate the complex divorce process. Contact SAC Attorneys today for personalized insight into your case.

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