Spousal support (commonly referred to as alimony) may be awarded in the event of separation or divorce. California courts look at a broad range of factors in determining when spousal support should be ordered. Under California Family Code § 4320, there are particular codified factors that a judge can use in making such an award. Our office is committed to pointing out such necessity and analyzing every factor as applied to your unique circumstances.
The over-arching principle is the need of each party and their ability to pay. When one party has been the sole "bread-winner" in the marriage and the other has grown dependent on that support, such circumstances may indicate that an award of spousal support is warranted. All the relevant facts and circumstances need to be articulated to the judge making the determination, to ensure that you get the most appropriate and fair result possible. With the help of an experienced attorney, we can ensure that the decision made is not arbitraty.
There are two types of awards: temporary and permanent support. As each case is unique, each determination of whether to award temporary or permanent support is different. One main indicator is the standard of living achieved during the marriage and prior to the separation. If, during the marriage, lavish homes, luxury cars, frequent vacations, and other luxuries are present, the standard of living is considered to be high and should be taken into consideration when determining the amount and nature of spousal support. A judge will look to this standard of living as a guide and then determine whether it is sustainable, given the need and earning capacity of each party.
When it comes to spousal support, time is of the essence. A complex fact-finding process must take place in order to thoroughly apply the relevant aspects of your unique circumstances to the many factors the court is required to takae into consideration.
Contact our office today to discuss setting up an initial consultation. The sooner you act, the sooner you can make a case for what you rightfully deserve.
Modification of Support Orders
A support order can be modified or completely terminated. The two main guiding points are whether the party is being supported still maintains such a need and whether the party bound to support the other can still do so without suffering harm. As the awarding judge is given considerable discretion in making an award, it is up to the appealing party to show that the circumstances have changed since the award to justify a modification. The obliged party suffering financial ruins may give weight to this argument.
An additional consideration is the independent duty for the dependent party to make a good faith effort towards becoming self-sufficient. Typically, this involves looking for a job or alternative means of income. A judge will look at the effort put forth by the receiving party to see if they are making a good faith effort. In cases where the issues are more complicated we enlist reputable vocational experts, experienced in the family law courts. We will ensure that these individuals are retained to put forth the best line of argumentation on your behalf.
As mentioned, these support orders may be terminated. This can be at the discretion of the court who is reviewing the initial order or through fixed term support orders. In addition, the remarriage of the party receiving support may trigger termination of the initial support order. It is important to have an attorney familiar with the terms and conditions of the support order and who will fight for your behalf in the event such an order is appealed.
Please contact our office for an initial consultation if you are having issues with spousal support.