Alimony could become a critical element of divorce negotiations. Confusion might exist about what alimony, sometimes also referred to as spousal support, involves. Some may believe that alimony serves a punitive purpose, but that’s not the case. A California family court judge would likely issue alimony to help prevent one spouse from suffering financial hardships after the dissolution.
Alimony for the dependent spouse
Often, a court awards alimony to a dependent spouse. A dependent spouse would be the partner who relies financially on the other spouse. The dependent spouse might have a steady job and regular income, but the amount might not be enough to cover many living expenses. Previously, the spouse may have relied on the support of the partner.
A dependent spouse could lack the education or experience to find higher-paying employment, and it could take some time for the person to become more stable financially. Alimony might help such an ex-spouse better handle the transition to single life. The alimony order could be temporary, as the support might only last a specified amount of time the newly single ex-partner needs to make adjustments.
Negotiating alimony payments
Another misconception some might have about alimony awards is they derive from a judge’s decision after a trial. While that could happen in some cases, many divorces end amicably after both parties reach a settlement agreement. Granted, the settlement amount could come after intense negotiations. Also, a judge must concur with the agreement.
If there’s an impasse in negotiations, options other than a trial exist. Both parties could enter mediation to overcome disagreements.
Any spouse required to make support payments must follow through with the directives. Otherwise, they may face legal consequences.