Alimony & spousal support issues for ex-spouses or domestic partners

Alimony or Spousal Support Attorneys in San Diego

Minella Law Group is committed to protecting your financial well-being in all California alimony or spousal support issues for ex-spouses or domestic partners.

The judge has discretion to decide whether to order spousal support, and if so, for how much and how long.  It is important that before the judge decides whether or not to order spousal support, the judge have the facts necessary to make a fair decision. Minella Law Group’s experienced attorneys work to ensure that the judge takes into account the facts and issues that are in your best interest.

Types of California Spousal Support

Temporary spousal support may be requested by application to the court while divorce or domestic partnership dissolution is pending. If awarded, it’s purpose is to help the lower-income spouse maintain the standard of living they had during the marriage, and to give them the ability to pay living expenses.

Permanent spousal support can be ordered by the court based on many factors; if support is ordered, the court also decides how much it will be and how long it will last.
The judge considers:

  1. To what degree each spouse’s earning capacity can maintain the standard of living established during the marriage
  2. The lower-income spouse’s contribution to the other spouse’s attaining an education or career
  3. The higher-income spouse’s ability to pay spousal support
  4. The needs of each party, based on the standard of living established during the marriage
  5. The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party
  6. The duration of the marriage
  7. If the lower-income spouse can reasonably be expected to return to work
  8. The age and health of the parties
  9. Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence between the parties
  10. The tax consequences to each party
  11. The balance of the hardships to each party
  12. The goal that the lower income spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time.  Generally, this period is one-half the length of the marriage unless it is a marriage of long duration (usually a marriage of 10 years or more).  Even so, it is in the judge’s discretion to order support for more or less time.
  13. The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse will be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award.
  14. Any other factors the court deems just and equitable.

There is a great deal to consider with each of these factors.  For instance, “ability to pay” includes considering more than employment salary, as it may also include investments, other assets, the future exercise of stock options, and so on.  Minella Law Group is here to safeguard your financial well-being by evaluating and advocating for the legal options that will be most helpful to you, in light of what the law allows.

If permanent spousal support is ordered, it may be possible to later modify the amount or duration of the support, or to terminate the order.

Reaching Agreement Outside of Court

The Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) is a legal document between the parties settling rights, claims, and liabilities that arise out of the parties’ marriage, as well as many other important issues.

Under current California law, this agreement may include provisions regarding spousal support, and is subject to approval by the judge.

An important consideration in an MSA is how to best structure spousal support payments.  There are many options, including a lump sum payment, fixed monthly payments, or payments that are tied to a percentage or contingencies.  Minella Law Group’s attorneys will help you weigh these options in light of what is best for your situation, given the tax consequences.

Kathy MinellaAlimony & spousal support issues for ex-spouses or domestic partners