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Divorce Maintenance

Divorce maintenance, alimony, or spousal support, are interchangeable terms prevalent in divorce cases. In the state of California, if you were in a relationship for more than ten years, you may be required to pay spousal support until a) the receiving party no longer requires the support or b) the providing party can no longer provide. In either instance, spousal support allegations will need to be backed with paperwork and if the case is brought into a courtroom, you will most likely require the aid of a family law attorney.

In other cases, if you are married for less than ten years, the providing party may be subject to spousal support for half the duration of the marriage. For instance, if a couple was married for six years, spousal support can potentially be enforced for 3 years; half the life of the marriage.

During alimony disputes, the court will also consider the financial status’ of both parties, giving certain rights and reliefs to the spouse that spent time outside of the workforce to fulfill parental responsibilities. Each alimony case will take into account various factors. The purpose of the court and alimony laws are to aid the spouse that is in financial need. In providing the right alimony order, the court will consider the ability of the provider to fulfill the financial obligations. In some cases, the provider can significantly reduce their alimony obligations if they can prove there has been a change in circumstances that no longer allows them to meet their spousal support.

In most cases, families want what is best for one another even during a divorce. To have a fair verdict you should seek the guidance of an attorney or mediator who is capable of conducting a mediation process in which both parties can come to a fair agreement. Assets, properties, and debts create a messy environment that sometimes requires the help of an experienced person that can explain the laws that guide divorce and how they apply to their specific situation. To have a family law expert review your case, you may contact the San Diego Divorce Attorney at 858-529-5150.

Divorce is a messy ordeal even when both parties want to cooperate. When either spouse disagrees with a divorce or disagrees with aspects of a divorce agreement, you may be looking at a family court trial. In trials, you will need to present your case to a family court judge who will make a decision based on the information presented. In these situations, you must be prepared with the right documents and legal representation. The following section will provide information that will be essential when filing a claim for spousal maintenance.

How much will it cost me and how long will I need to pay spousal support?

Right off the bat, you may be wondering how long you will have to pay x amount of dollars to your spouse after a divorce. The answer is not straightforward, the judge will analyze your financial capabilities and will take into account various other factors when determining the right type of spousal support order. Before deciding an alimony order, the judge will take into account the financial capabilities of both parties, the debt, property, and asset allocation, and other factors that may reduce or increase the amount of alimony that you may be required to pay.  In any case, if you can prove that the obligations to pay spousal support is unlawful, or if you can prove that it would cause an undue hardship, you may be capable of having the spousal support obligations lowered to meet your financial situation.

In most cases, if your spouse can prove that spousal support is essential to their standard of living, they can pursue a claim in a court of law. Maintenance laws were created to support a certain lifestyle that existed before the divorce. In addition, it allows individuals to claim monetary support for a transitional period or until they are able to provide for themselves without the aid of spousal support.

Types of spousal supports

The length of the spousal support will depend on what the judge deems to be fair for the situation at hand. A judge can request that either member provide maintenance support for a variety of reasons and for a variety of lengths. Depending on your situation the judge may require you to pay for maintenance support for a short, temporary, or long period of time. 

Long-term: A long-term maintenance decision is usually made after a spouse has been aided with temporary or rehabilitation alimony. Before making a decision on long-term maintenance the court will assess the financial status’ on both parties to ensure that the provisions can be met by the providing party. If you are the provider, you will want representation in a court of law. Our lawyers are capable of providing guidance in a courtroom to ensure that the judge has a clear understanding of your financial status. Unfortunately, if you are bringing in big bucks, you may be required to pay more out of pocket than individuals who have poor earning potentials.

Long-term maintenance decisions arise in marriages that last more than ten years, but unlike popular belief, these maintenance requirements come with an expiration date. Long-term maintenance decisions can be terminated if you can prove that the maintenance is no longer required. You are capable of proving the long-term maintenance is no longer required if your spouse is able to provide for his or herself without financial support. This means that if your spouse is remarried or has joined the workforce, you are capable of putting an end to the maintenance bills. On the other hand, if you can no longer uphold the provisions described in your divorce agreement, you will be able to contest the decision and have the alimony requirement lowered. To do so, an individual will need to file a motion to modify the divorce decree.

Short Term: A short-term or temporary alimony is one that can be ordered during the legal separation process. The spouse requiring financial assistance will not have to wait until the couple completes a divorce agreement in order to start receiving the spousal support benefits. Upon filing for separation, the spouse requiring financial assistance can access a short-term alimony that is less complex due to the temporary provisions. Upon a decision of a final maintenance order, the short-term program and provisions expire.

‘Bridge the Gap’, rehabilitative, transitional support: If the spouse is capable of adjusting to their new economic circumstances, but require assistance while they make the transition, the court may place a maintenance order for a short period of time. The purpose of the transitional support program is to help spouses that have the ability to enter the workforce and become self-sufficient. In some cases, the provider may be required to help their spouse obtain an education or vocational job training. During this time period, the provider will be required to provide assistance throughout the duration of the program. If the spouse is unable to successfully transition into the workforce and become self-sufficient, the court may order a longer spousal support program. In some cases, the spouse upholding parenting responsibilities will face different obstacles when attempting to get on their feet which is why a court may order a transitional alimony order. Transitional support programs can be extended or replaced with a much longer spousal maintenance order depending on the changing circumstances.

Reimbursement or Compensation Support: If your spouse has significantly contributed to your earning capabilities after a marriage meaning that he or she is able to prove that their idea or support has contributed to your financial success, they may be compensated through spousal support. For example, if you were in charge of raising the children while your ex-spouse developed a company or business, you may be able to claim reimbursement support. If you have contributed greatly to the success of your partner, you can claim reimbursement compensation on top of other spousal support programs that may be assigned to your case.

Multi-support: Different courts across the United States are capable of ordering multiple types of spousal supports. For example, a court can order that the one spouse be treated with reimbursement support for his or her contributes to the other while also receiving any other type of spousal support. Your case outcome will be influenced by the state you reside in which is why you should consult your situation with a local state lawyer.

Factors used to calculate spousal support

A judge needs more than just knowledge of the earning capabilities of both parties. To determine a fair spousal support order, the judge will take into account many factors that can have an effect on the length and cost of spousal support. A judge or mediator will take into account the following factors to determine the best possible spousal support program for the given situation.

  • Marriage Dates: When reaching a divorce agreement that involved maintenance support, the dates of the relationship are crucial. As mentioned earlier, if your relationship lasted less than ten years, the court will usually provide a temporary or transitional support order. On the other hand, if the marriage lasted more than ten years the judge will not provide an expiration date. The longer-term spousal support usually ends when the receiving party can no longer qualify for the support or when the providing party is unable to keep up with the support bills.

  • Living conditions while married: The judge will more than likely take into account the living conditions that existed prior to the filing of the divorce. The judge may require the providing party to pay spousal support to maintain those living conditions.

  • Properties, assets, and debts: The judge will also require a clear understanding of how the debts and assets were or will be distributed. The judge may provide some relief to the providing party if they have been burdened with the greater portion of marital debt or if they lost property in the divorce process. If you are the providing party, you will want to provide the judge with this information so that they can establish a fair spousal support program.

  • Income differences and earning potentials: The difference in earning potentials that exists between both parties can also help a mediator or a judge come up with a just spousal support program. The judge will consider the “marketable skills” of each party and their ability to obtain a job in the current market. The judge will order spousal support for the spouse in the worst financial situation.

  • Age: Age is a big factor if brought into a court case. The older the individual the longer the spousal support order may be. The law takes into account the age of the receiving individual because after a certain age individuals face issues when looking for employment. In addition, performing job duties may not be a reality for certain individuals over a certain age.

  • Any history of domestic aggression

  • The contributions of either party: The court or mediator will take into account any contributions you made to your partner's life. For example, if you help your spouse achieve a successful business by becoming a full-time parent, you will more than likely be able to claim spousal support.

  • Impact on taxes: In most states, the provider can receive a tax deduction if they pay spousal maintenance. On the other hand, spousal support can be subject to a tax. The court will take into account the immediate impact of a divorce on both sides.

If you are filing for divorce, spousal support is always a complicated issue where assets,  properties, financial capabilities, and different circumstances need to be taken into account. A divorce should not place a burden on either party which is why negotiating outside of a courtroom is the best option for individuals filing a divorce. If you are filing for divorce, and you need legal representation or you require the assistance of a mediator, please contact the San Diego Divorce Attorney at 858-529-5150.

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