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20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212, Los Gatos, CA 95030
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An In-Depth Look at Alimony

Posted on in Spousal Support

California divorce attorney, California alimony lawyerPerhaps you are newly divorced and wondering how soon you will start receiving the court ordered payment. Maybe you are debating a dissolution of marriage and are curious as to how soon after everything takes effect that you potentially will need to start paying maintenance. Payments after the marriage has ended is often a top priority question for our clients. Let us discuss alimony in further detail.

What Is Alimony?

Alimony is also known as spousal support, financial support, and spousal maintenance. This is an amount that is paid by one spouse to another spouse after they have divorced. This is put into place in order to maintain the “standard of living of the marriage.” In short, you should essentially be able to continue living outside of the marriage the same way that you were living inside the marriage. That in turn means that if one spouse is making a substantial amount more than the other spouse, then perhaps alimony should be paid to the spouse that is not making as much in order to help them on their way.

How Is Alimony Calculated?

If one person is the stay-at-home spouse and the other has been the primary bread winner, it does not mean that the law is in place for the working spouse to still support an entire house that they are no longer living in, while the other person continues with their current role. In California, it is important to understand that if you are capable of earning income, then you must do so for yourself and for your family. However, if you are not able to attain the amount of income that is necessary to maintain the same standard of living as was in the marriage, then perhaps you may be entitled to some alimony to make up the difference. The idea here is to prevent anyone from being left without proper shelter, food, and clothing due to a dissolution in marriage while the other is living in a lap of luxury. A few (not all) of the items that are taken into consideration in determining the amount of alimony to be paid are:

  • The marketable skills of the supported party and the job market for those skills;
  • The length of time the supported spouse was unemployed to maintain the domestic duties of the home;
  • The extent to which the supported party assisted the other party in attaining a career or current financial status;
  • The ability of the supporting party to actually pay support; and
  • The obligations and assets of each party, including separate property.

How Long until Payments End?

The length of time for the payments are dependent on the decision of the court. Payments may be temporary or they may be permanent. For a short-term marriage, the general rule of thumb is that alimony may be paid for half the length of the marriage. For example, if you were married for six years, you may receive up to three years of spousal support payments. The end date of the payments may be set by the judge during the divorce and alimony proceedings. However, if the marriage lasted for more than 10 years, that is considered a long-term marriage under California law. Legally, there can be no termination set at the time of the dissolution. While this may be so, this does not entitle the supported spouse to alimony for the remainder of their life. The court can, however, set a date for termination which gives the supported spouse ample time to extend the date if need be.  

If you have questions about alimony payments, either making or receiving them, you may wish to speak to an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Under the guidance and protection of the proper information, you may be able to find a solution for your divorce that suits your needs. If you are interested in discussing your options with a San Jose, CA spousal support attorney, contact the Ventresca Law Firm today at 408-395-8822 to schedule your free initial consultation. We have 35 years of experience of offering outstanding guidance to clients just like you and look forward to helping you attain a better future for you and your family.



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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca

20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212
Los Gatos, CA 95030

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