Spousal support can be paid by any spouse regardless of their gender. Many factors are evaluated before determining whether or not alimony should be paid. But what confuses most clients is the question of just how long the support should last.
You might notice that certain ex-spouses pay or receive the alimony for a longer period than others. And you might wonder the kind of threshold used to determine this. Fresno family lawyers at Tomassian, Pimentel & Shapazian have been guiding clients on this matter for a number of years now and can guide you too.
How Does the Length of a Temporary Alimony Differ from a Permanent One?
A temporary alimony order is designed to support the lower-earning spouse before the divorce is finalized and a permanent order is issued. A temporary spousal support order is expected to last throughout the divorce proceedings. In this arrangement, the supporting spouse is required to pay a certain amount each month until the divorce is finalized.
The supported partner can receive temporary alimony for up to a year or so. Your attorney can help you calculate the exact amount of money you need to pay or receive temporarily until the final one is determined.
Permanent alimony, on the other hand, is permanent and usually replaces the temporary order. The length varies from one divorce case to another, depending on several issues. Ione might receive or pay for a few years or for the rest of their lives – until either party dies, remarries, or is deprived of their earning abilities.
What is the Ten-Year Rule in California?
The period of your marriage determines how long spousal support will last in California. Generally, marriages that last less than ten years do spousal support for half the length of the marriage. For instance, if you were married for six years, you might pay or receive alimony for three years. However, the judge is allowed to prolong or shorten this period.
Marriages that end after ten years or more are considered long-term. Thus, judges do not set an end to alimony in most cases. If you have concerns regarding the possibilities of spousal support in your case, speak to a Fresno spousal support attorney.
What Happens to the Length of Spousal Support When There is a Marital Agreement?
Many couples set the amount and duration of spousal support that will be paid if the marriage ends. And the courts usually uphold those terms if the post-nuptial or prenuptial agreements are valid. For example, if the couple agreed on a lumpsum or short-term alimony, the court might uphold – even if they were married for a long time and would get long-term alimony without the agreement.
Can Divorcing Couples Negotiate on Alimony Terms?
Even without a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, a divorcing couple can agree on the terms of alimony. A family law facilitator, a mediator, or a California spousal support attorney can assist with negotiating alimony terms. If you can agree out of court, the judge will simply approve of it and move to other aspects of the divorce.
How Does the Court Determine Alimony Period in Litigation?
A divorcing couple with no marital agreement and failed negotiations will have the courts deciding on the matter.
Apart from the length of the marriage, here are other factors put into consideration:
- The time taken by the spouse to get education and training that can get them a job
- The job market and marketability of the skills possessed by the spouse receiving support
- Whether the supported spouse gave up their career to take care of the home or the children
- Whether being in employment would make it too difficult for the parent to take care of the children
The federal and state tax impact on the amount received
- A spouse’s contribution to the other spouse obtaining a professional license, an education, or training
- What each person can contribute to maintaining the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
- The needs of each person based on the lifestyle enjoyed in the marriage
- The couple’s joint and individual debt
- Whether there have been allegations of domestic violence
- The health and age of each spouse
The court will be willing to consider any other factor that is relevant and can impact the case. A Fresno spousal support attorney can evaluate your situation and advise you on what can affect your spousal support proceedings.
What Happens When the Supporting Spouse Retires?
Supporting spouses should not exhaust themselves with work just to pay long-term spousal support. One should feel free to retire when they reach the retirement age or when circumstances force them to take up early retirement. And if you no longer benefit from your source(s) of income, you can ask the court to stop you from making the alimony payments.
When Can the Court Modify a Spousal Support Schedule?
It is common for people’s circumstances to change after spousal support has been set in California. Some of these changes can warrant modifications in alimony. You simply have to convince the judge that a modification is really necessary.
Some of the circumstances include:
- The person receiving support has started cohabiting with their partner
- The supporting spouse’s income has decreased permanently
- Serious illness or disability
Remember that you still owe your ex-spouse support until the day you receive an order for modification. Your spousal support lawyer in Fresno, CA, can advise you on what you need after filing for modifications.
Reliable and Compassionate Family Law Firm in Fresno, CA
Divorce is a complex process, but its outcome can impact the spouses for a long time – if not for the rest of their lives. The spousal support order is binding, and it is better when your interests are factored in both the temporary and final decision.
Walk with a seasoned attorney who can help you attain a fair outcome. And in case a need for modification arises, your Fresno spousal support lawyer will also guide you on how to go about it. Take the first step and get in touch with us and let’s hear your case.