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Newport Beach Spousal Support Lawyers

California Alimony & Spousal Support Laws

In California, spousal support works by the higher-income party in a divorce making regular payments to the lower-income party. The purpose of spousal support is two-fold: to minimize the economic effects of the divorce and to maintain the standard of living for the lower-earning spouse that was established during the marriage.

As part of any divorce in California, spousal support will need to be resolved by the divorcing couple and/or the court based on the financial facts and circumstances of the case. Spousal support can often be a contentious matter that can add further stress to an already emotional and difficult situation.

Whether you are the individual seeking spousal support or the individual who will likely be providing this support, solutions can be found to settle the matter with the right legal counsel.

The Orange County spousal support attorneys at Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara have the family law experience, skills, and resources needed to represent your best interests, whether through negotiation or in court. We work toward achieving our clients’ alimony goals through sound legal guidance and performance.

Discuss your alimony case with our spousal support lawyers in Orange County. Call (949) 229-8546 or contact us online.

Types of Spousal Support in California

There are two types of spousal support in California:

  • Temporary spousal support is that paid during the pendency of a dissolution. The goal of temporary support is to maintain the status quo while the parties work to resolve the other issues in the divorce.

  • Long-term or permanent spousal support. This is support payable after a divorce case has been finalized. In some situations, there is no set end-date and in others, if a party can prove that the other will be self-supporting at a specific time, the support may reduce to zero on a date certain. The point of long term spousal support is to enable both parties to live as closely as possible to the marital standard of living given a variety of factors, including the ability of the supporting party to pay support and the needs of the supported party, among many others.

When calculating temporary spousal support, most courts follow a simple formula known as the "Santa Clara Guideline." One-half of the lower-earning spouse's net monthly income is subtracted from 40% of the higher-earning spouse's income, and the remaining amount is paid as temporary spousal support.

"The Ten-Year Rule"

Permanent spousal support in California may be paid in cases where the marriage lasted longer than 10 years. This is commonly referred to as the "Ten-Year Rule." The spousal support is not actually permanent, but is rather intended to support the lower-earner until they are able to support themselves. In cases of permanent spousal support in California, the amount of long-term support depends on a number of factors.

According to the California courts website, California spousal support factors include:

  • The supported party's marketable skills
  • What the job market looks like for those skills
  • The time and financial support necessary for the supported spouse to develop marketable skills and/or get a job
  • The extent to which the supported party's earning capacity was impaired by periods of unemployment during their marriage while devoted to domestic duties

What Factors Determine the Amount & Length of Support?

A variety of factors will be considered by the courts when determining the amount and length of spousal support payments in California. Each case is determined based on the individual circumstances of the spouses.

In California, factors considered when deciding how much spousal support is required include:

  • Length of marriage
  • Earnings of the paying spouse
  • The debts and other financial obligations of both spouses
  • Ages and health of both spouses
  • How much the supported spouse contributed to other spouse’s career in terms of training, education, etc.
  • How long the supported spouse was unable to work due to caring for children

Both spouses should have competent legal support when it comes to navigating the complex issue of alimony in California. Our Newport Beach spousal support lawyers have decades of experience in handling complicated family law issues throughout Orange County, CA. We are committed to providing you with aggressive representation in court coupled with a compassionate approach and focus outside the courtroom.

When Does Spousal Support End in California?

Temporary spousal support is paid from one spouse to the other while a family law case in ongoing. In the case of long-term or permanent alimony in California, there are several ways in which support would end:

  • You agree in writing about the date it will end (and the court signs off on the agreement)
  • The court orders it to end (often as the result of a modification)
  • The spouse receiving support remarries
  • Either spouse dies

Tips for Navigating Your Spousal Support Case

Applying the following tips to your spousal support case can help you navigate your case more easily:

  • Consider smaller payments over a longer period of time. It may run contrary to your intuition, but "budgeting" spousal support may be a better decision in the long run. If a party gets married or their financial circumstances change, it can affect or terminate the spousal support arrangement. Choosing longer-term spousal support arrangements can actually help the payor spend less on spousal support while still supporting the recipient.
  • Take advantage of a financial professional. Whether you're a spousal support payor or recipient, a financial professional like an accountant can be an invaluable asset in spousal support cases. They can help you put together a comprehensive argument for an equitable spousal support arrangement, and save you money in the long run.
  • Set grounds for modification or termination. Divorce-related court orders like child custody and spousal support arrangements are rarely good forever. As circumstances change, so should your spousal support arrangement. Speak with your lawyer and a financial professional to get a forecast on what the next five to ten years of your life might look like financially. Using that information, come up with some terms or "triggers" that can result in the termination or modification of your spousal support arrangement.
  • Focus on compromise. The last thing you want to end up in is an ever-escalating spousal support battle with your ex. Trying to come up with an equitable, mutually beneficial solution will prop you up in the court's eyes and probably benefit you at the end of the day.

Spousal support cases can be daunting, but with the right lawyer at your side, you can work towards an equitable, mutually beneficial arrangement with your soon-to-be-ex.

Call Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara at (949) 229-8546 to discuss your options with our spousal support attorneys in Orange County.

Why Hire Bremer Whyte Brown & O'Meara, LLP?

  • Experience with Complex, High-Value Cases

  • Highly Awarded by Prestigious Associations

  • Thoughtful, Competent Representation

  • Four Certified Family Law Specialists

  • Experienced Trial Attorneys

  • Experienced Trial Attorneys