Welcome back to the last part of my three part series on how courts calculate spousal support otherwise known as “alimony.” Click here for the first part of the series and click here for the second section.
Do I have to Pay Alimony?
If you were married and the primary income earner, then the short answer is yes, you will have to pay alimony. How much alimony is determined by several factors. Today we will look at the last set of factors found in Family Code Section 4320 and give a breakdown of each point in simple English. My goal at the end of this post is for you to walk away with a better understanding of alimony than you had before.
Evidence of Domestic Violence
This is a serious issue. If you are convicted of domestic violence within five years of your divorce, it will be almost impossible to receive spousal support from your ex. California creates a “rebuttable presumption” that you should not get alimony. The presumption can be overcome but it is very hard to do so. If there is no conviction the court can still use “evidence” of domestic violence which includes police reports, domestic violence restraining orders, or any witness statements. If you are currently paying spousal support and know that your ex has a domestic violence conviction, contact an attorney to find a way to petition the court to end your alimony obligations.
Tax Consequences to Each party
If you pay spousal support you can deduct it from your taxes? If you are receiving alimony, then that is considered taxable income. So there is obviously going to be tax consequences based on how much alimony is being paid. Whatever that amount is, and it depends on each case, the court will take that into account in order to reach a fair amount.
The Balance of Hardships to Each Party
You probably have noticed by now a theme of hardship in these factors. Courts don’t want to burden each party even though they require them to pay alimony. This factor is a catch-all that covers any hardship not already discussed in other parts of the statute.
Requirement that the Supported Spouse be Self Supporting
If your marriage was less than ten years and you receive alimony the court will expect you to be self supporting within half of the time of your marriage. So if you were married for eight years, you have to be able to support yourself within four years after the divorce. However, this is not an absolute rule. The court has a lot of flexibility and doesn’t have to end your alimony within that time. The statute reserves the right of the court to give you more time on alimony if you can show that you are not able to support yourself. This is where an expert comes in to see how long it will take you to get a good job and make good money. Refer to the previous factors that talk about the ability to find a good job and the time of unemployment caused by marriage.
Also, if you were married for ten years or more it doesn’t automatically mean that alimony is meant forever. Courts can limit that too based upon the other factors listed here.
Same as above, if you have a criminal conviction you might not get alimony.
Any other Factors
This is a catch-all in case the court forgot to include anything. Disability payments can come here as well as any chronic illnesses.
How can I help?
If you have any more question about spousal support, divorce, or child custody please contact me for a consultation at email@example.com or call 626-227-1176 and ask to speak with me. Connect with me on Google+.
Disclaimer: This blog post, and other blog posts by me, are not meant to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship will be formed by these blog posts.