How Is Alimony Calculated?

How Is Alimony Calculated in a California Divorce?

When it comes to divorce, alimony or spousal support consistently proves to be a point of contention between both parties. One wants more, the other wants to give less. You may find yourself asking whether or not it’s really even necessary. There are certain requirements that you must meet in order to be eligible for alimony, but assuming those requirements are met, alimony is intended to provide the recipient with a stable financial situation post-divorce. Before you begin the legal proceedings of your divorce, take a moment to look through the steps a judge will follow in order to calculate alimony payments.

Do I Qualify For Alimony?

Not every ex-spouse is eligible to receive alimony. A judge will only award it when the ex-spouse is unable to meet their needs without financial assistance from their ex-spouse, assuming their ex-spouse can afford to pay it. Temporary spousal support may be granted in situations including:

  • The ex-spouse requires time to get back on their feet in order to rejoin the job market
  • The ex-spouse’s present or future earning capacity was impaired by stretches of unemployment caused by time devoted to fulfilling domestic duties
  • The ex-spouse requires time to brush up on the skills necessary to join the job market
  • The ex-spouse needs to complete an educational or training program in order to rejoin the job market
  • The ex-spouse needs financial support in order to raise their children

Permanent spousal support may be awarded by the judge if the ex-spouse is not capable of becoming financially independent due to a disability or age.

How Much Alimony Do I Qualify For?

The court uses many factors when determining the amount paid as alimony, including:

  • Age, emotional state, physical condition, and financial condition of each ex-spouse
  • Length of time the recipient would need to complete education and / or training to become self-sufficient
  • The length of the marriage
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • The ability of the payer to support themselves while still supporting the ex-spouse
  • The ability of the recipient to pursue employment without interfering with the interests of their dependent children
  • Property owned by the recipient, community property, or quasi-community property that can sufficiently provide support

When Is Alimony Not Granted?

There are several factors that courts will consider to deny alimony, including:

  • Any history of domestic violence between the ex-spouses
  • Any history of domestic violence against their own or their ex-spouse’s children
  • Attempted murder of the ex-spouse, including hiring a third party to commit the crime
  • A criminal conviction for a violent sexual felony perpetrated against one ex-spouse by the other

California Family Code 4320-4326 has the complete information for the factors courts use to determine whether or not alimony is awarded, and how much is rewarded. There are also alimony calculators available online that can provide an estimate of potential alimony. While the calculator can give you a general idea of potential payment, the court reserves the right to increase or decrease alimony based on other relevant factors.

Divorce proceedings can be long, drawn-out affairs. You may feel overwhelmed by all of the factors that go into calculating the cost and resolving negotiations, so it may be in your best interest to hire a qualified divorce attorney. At Family Law Advocacy Group, our firm is confident in our ability to provide you with the high-quality legal guidance you need and deserve. Contact our Rancho Cucamonga divorce attorney today for a free case review, or give us a call at (909) 992-0188 to schedule an appointment.

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