When spousal support – also referred to as alimony – is determined in California, one of the biggest questions that both the prospective supporting former spouse and the supported former spouse will have surrounds the length of time for which it must be paid. Many who are receiving spousal support will want it to continue permanently or at least for the long-term. The paying spouse will want a gauge as to when it will conclude. Understanding how a judge will decide on the payments and how long they will last is integral to a case.
The decision as to the time-period for which spousal support will be paid will be made in the final judgment. Unlike other aspects of a divorce, a formula is not used in these circumstances. There are certain factors that the judge will consider instead. They include: how long the couple was married; the needs of each party based on the standard of living during the marriage; what each will pay and can pay to maintain that standard of living; if working will have a negative impact on caring for children; the age and health status of the parties; and if there is property and debts.
Additional factors to be considered are if one spouse assisted the other with schooling, learning a trade, advancing in a career, or getting a professional license; if there was domestic violence in the relationship; if one spouse’s career was affected by being unemployed and staying home to care for children; and the tax implications. When requesting permanent support, the person should think about these factors and act accordingly when calculating how much they plan to ask for. There should be reasonable justifications when asking for any amount.
Since spousal support is such a critical aspect to be considered among divorce legal issues, it is imperative to have legal assistance when the amount is calculated. This is true for the spouse who would be paying and the spouse who would be receiving. It is always preferable for there to be an amicable agreement that both sides are satisfied with. That is not always possible. However, when there is a dispute or negotiation about spousal support, having assistance from a qualified divorce lawyer is wise.