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Los Gatos, CA temporary alimony lawyerMany married couples choose to have one spouse be the primary income earner while the other spouse attends school, develops a new business venture, manages family and household needs, volunteers in the community, works on a part-time basis, or works in a rewarding but low-paying job. However, in the event of a divorce, this can leave the non-wage-earning or lower-paid spouse in a difficult financial position. Thus, the question of temporary spousal support can be an important factor to consider before filing for divorce. 

Standard Calculation for Temporary Spousal Support in Santa Clara County

When one spouse files for divorce, either spouse may ask the court for a temporary support order. Such decisions need to be made quickly to ensure that one spouse is not left destitute. Therefore, most judges use a standard formula to calculate the amount of monthly temporary support to be paid. 

In Santa Clara County, for example, the standard formula is:  (40% of the net income of the higher-earning spouse minus child support expenses) minus (50% of the net income of the lower-earning spouse). 

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California family lawyerThe Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed by the States Congress last December, resulting in the most major federal tax reform of the last 30 years. This law affects nearly everyone in the U.S., and discussion of some of its changes, such as a lowered corporate tax rate and an increased standard deduction, have filled the news as financial experts examine its impact. However, one lesser-known aspect of the law is important for divorcing couples to understand, since it will affect how spousal support (which is traditionally called alimony) will be taxed.

How Alimony Is Taxed

Previously, when a spouse who earned a larger income paid spousal support to their former partner, they would be able to deduct this amount from their taxable income, and the payments would be considered taxable income for the spouse receiving them. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changes this, so that alimony will now be treated like child support. For divorces finalized after December 31, 2018, spousal support will not be tax-deductible for the payor or taxable for the payee.

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California divorce lawyer, California mediation attorneyThere are certain situations under California law where one spouse may be entitled to receive spousal support from the other spouse after a divorce. The point of spousal support – also referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance – is to provide income for a spouse who either does not work or was earning a much lower wage than the other spouse, such as where one spouse gave up their career to be a stay-at-home parent and raise the children.

Another purpose of alimony is to assist the lower-earning spouse in maintaining the standard of living they were accustomed to during the marriage until they are in a better financial position. In order to determine if support is warranted, the court will look at several different factors. The first factor is the gross income of the marriage. Under the California Family Code, income can include:

  • Wages;
  • Salary;
  • Bonuses;
  • Commissions;
  • Dividends;
  • Royalties; and
  • Trust income.

Once the income of each spouse is determined, those figures are entered into an alimony calculator. The calculator also requires input of the length of the marriage. Under the law, if a couple has been married for less than 10 years, support will not be ordered for any longer than half the amount of years the couple were married. For marriages over 10 years, the amount of time spousal support may be an extended period, if not indefinite.

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California divorce attorney, California family law attorneyLife is always changing. Sometimes it takes unexpected turns that have profound and lasting consequences. Without the ability to foresee the future, it is impossible to plan every aspect of life completely. Two such instances are divorce and bankruptcy. California is very understanding when it comes to divorce and aims to ensure that both parties separate with equal financial footing, many times requiring the payment of spousal support or alimony. A bankruptcy filing can substantially alter maintenance requirements during divorce litigation or divorce mediation proceedings, many times requiring post-judgement modifications.

What Do These Terms Mean?

If a person is in bankruptcy status, the courts relieve them of paying these debts. During a divorce, bankruptcy may make it tough to make the necessary alimony payments. Many in this situation do attempt to use this status as a tool to avoid the fees. To see where there could be a dilemma, it is best to understand what each means.

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California divorce attorney, California family law attorneyMarriage is as much a legal contract as it is a romantic union. Together, you make a sacred vow that is intended to last a lifetime. In many marriages, sexual exclusivity is a significant portion of that agreement. One partner choosing to stray beyond the boundaries of the union jeopardizes the deal. In other legal controversies, a breach of contract may result in restitution. In the realm of divorce and family law, does infidelity mean that the victim in the situation is owed damages through the form of spousal support?

Even Ground

California understands that not everyone will agree on everything, which is why lawmakers made divorce possible even if one side refuses to let go of the marriage. The state is also a “no-fault” state, which means that you do not need to have a reason other than irreconcilable differences with your spouse to leave. Based on this arrangement, everyone is equal regardless of any perceived transgressions, including cheating. Therefore, if taken to court for alimony payments, the judge will not take behavior into consideration. Factors that do influence the awarded permanent spousal support are:

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