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Divorce Help | October 30, 2020

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How Does Spousal Support in LA Work?

How Does Alimony in Los Angeles, California Work?
Adam
  • Contributing Author

Alimony can be a contentious issue for several parties. Technically, alimony is called spousal support in the state of California and can cause payments for the higher earner in a marriage that is heading for a divorce. 

Intended to maintain financial stability after a divorce has occurred, spousal support is designed to help the former spouse maintain the status quo they had grown accustomed to during the marriage.  There’s no surefire, rule to how much alimony will cost in the state of California. However, dependent on the unique circumstances of your marriage, you may have to pay alimony for a different amount of time. One of the large factors involved in alimony is the amount of time the couple lived together.

How Much Money am I Entitled to From Alimony Payments?

Dependent on the length of your marriage, along with the unique financial circumstances of your case, there may be a great deal of discretion in setting alimony by the court system. Determining alimony in the state of California can be a difficult one. Ideally it is best to consult with an experienced family law attorney in your local area for assistance in this matter.

According to the Judicial Branch of California, there are numerous variables that play into this equation.  Some of these critical factors include 

  • The amount of time the marriage lasted
  • The amount of financial compensation required to continue living within the standard of living during the marriage
  • If having a job would be too difficult in taking care of children
  • The age and health of both parties 
  • Debt and assets 
  • History of domestic violence or abuse 

So simply put, there is no one-size-fits all approach to the amount of money an individual can be allotted. The amount of income, properties, assets and history of domestic abuse can and will factor into a court’s decision for spousal payments. 

Are Alimony Payments Taxable?

It is a great idea to keep track of all of the alimony payments received from your previous spouse. According to the IRS there are certain alimony payments that are taxable. The payer of the alimony or spousal support is able to deduct these maintenance payments. The recipient of the alimony payments, must include these alimony payments as part of their incomes. 

Is Alimony in Los Angeles Permanent?

There are different lengths allotted for alimony payments. Generally speaking if the marriage is less than ten years, the alimony will last for half of the total length of the marriage. So if a marriage lasts six years, the temporary alimony payments will last a total of three years. For marriages longer than ten years, there is a different approach.

If a marriage is ten or more years, the answer is more of a nebulous one. Based on the circumstances and unique factors of your financial and marital situations, there may differing alimony settlements from one divorce to the next. 

When the divorce is finalized by the California Courts, there will be a marital settlement agreement. This marital settlement agreement outlines the alimony payments for a set period of time. 

Can Spousal Support Be Adjusted?

Yes – a spousal support can be adjusted. With the assistance of a support modification. If your financial situation has changed as a result of a loss of job you may be eligible for a spousal support modification .

To be eligible for a support modification, the payer or payee must show a “change in circumstances”. This change in circumstances is generally a result that something significant has changed. 

A change in circumstances can be a result of many different changes. However, some of the most common circumstances include, change in financial situation of payer or payee, the recipient of spousal support has been making a poor effort to becoming self-sufficient or the recipient remarries and the spousal support is mandated to end. 

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