What do courts consider when determining spousal support?

Divorce is often stressful, especially for couples who have to work out a spousal support agreement. If negotiations cannot be reached, the matter will go to court. When dealing with alimony matters, courts in California will determine the amount that one party will be awarded. If you’re going through a divorce, whether you’re the person to receive or pay alimony, it’s important to know how it works.

What factors does the court consider when ordering alimony?

Certain factors are taken into consideration by the court to determine alimony. They typically include the following:

  • Ability to earn an income: The court considers not only what each spouse is already earning but what they can potentially earn.
  • Ability of a spouse to self-support while receiving alimony: The court will look at the spouse’s ability to work outside the home while having custody of very young children.
  • Whether the spouse has job skills: The court will consider the spouse’s effort in seeking a job to use their skills. If they have job skills but don’t attempt to seek work, it will impact the alimony they receive.
  • Standard of living during the marriage: The court considers both spouses’ standard of living during the marriage when determining alimony.
  • Length of the marriage: A marriage that was shorter with no children often results in no alimony being ordered. However, if the marriage produced children, the court will often order alimony to the custodial parent.
  • Tax consequences: The court considers the tax consequences of alimony. The paying spouse is able to deduct alimony payments from their taxes.
  • Marital debt: If there was debt during the marriage, the court may decide on a lower or higher amount of alimony depending on who benefited more from the asset that incurred the debt.
  • Financial support during the marriage: The court will consider a spouse’s financial and emotional support toward the other spouse while they sought an education or training for a career during the marriage.

Who can you turn to for legal assistance?

When you’re going through a divorce, it’s imperative to have a skilled attorney on your side. An attorney may help ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the process and provide you with essential legal advice.