Why Permanent Alimony is Favored by Many People

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Spousal support Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsAlthough alimony, which is also referred to as spousal support, is regarded by some as a dirty word, there are still many people who favor it. But there are several states that have rewritten their divorce laws so that permanent alimony can be scrapped.

For several decades in the past, it was usual that after a man and a woman got married, the wife stayed at home and took care of the family to help promote the career of her husband. It was a common practice for women to support their husbands, and when children were born, perform most of the activities related to their rearing. So, if there was a divorce, it is natural to understand why she was awarded permanent alimony. After all, all these years during the marriage, she never had an opportunity or time to develop her professional career.

To cut it short, even today, most of the couples make the emotional choice of having one of them to stay back at home with the kids. While doing so, one of them becomes financially dependent on the other spouse who is the breadwinner of the family. When a mom or a dad give up their professional career and decides to stay back at home to bring up their kids for 18 years, the ability or the opportunity to make a re-entry to the workforce becomes less. Moreover, they will not be able to earn the same kind of salary their spouses are earning.

Many think that these are some of the cases when a spouse should be awarded permanent alimony:

When a spouse unilaterally decides to end a long-term marriage

If the spouse who’s the breadwinner of the family decides to divorce unilaterally from a marriage that lasted for 15 years or more, permanent alimony should be awarded to the dependent spouse.

When the dependent spouse has to look after the kids

In case a dependent spouse has to take care of the kids all alone but fails to get employment and stands at a risk of a drastic change in the lifestyle, he or she should be awarded a permanent alimony.

When a spouse is at a risk of facing financial poverty

If the situation is such that a spouse is exposed to the threat of suffering from acute poverty as he or she lacks necessary working skills post-divorce, permanent alimony should be awarded to that spouse.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

How Is Legal Separation Different From A Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorney Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsLegal separation is the formal process of confirming an actual separation of the parties, as opposed to filing for divorce.  Parties that chose legal separation do so for religious reasons, do not believe in divorce, or have concerns about medical insurance coverage, among other reasons.  If the parties proceed all the way to a final judgment in a legal separation case, they can obtain the same orders that they would have in a divorce case.  The biggest difference is that in the end, the parties are technically still married after a legal separation case and cannot get legally remarried.

Agreement for separation

An agreement on separation includes terms that are quite similar to those if the concerned couple was getting a divorce. This means there will be a distribution of their marital property, agreement on child visitation and custody if applicable. Not only this, the couple opting for a legal separation will also have to come to a decision on dividing any debts that were incurred by them after they got married.

Ideally, the above-mentioned terms should be binding in case the couple wants to get divorced. Moreover, both parties should hire their individual attorneys for negotiating all the details of the agreement on their legal separation. In case the spouses eventually make up their mind to go one step ahead and file for a divorce, it has been observed that the judge usually keeps the same terms as both the parties agreed to them earlier.

Differences between a legal separation and a divorce

Check out some of the following key differences between a divorce and a legal separation.

Name

While the spouse continues with the legal married name in the case of a separation, a wife may revert back to her maiden name after the divorce comes throughout the divorce be.

Child support

The conditions related to child support are ascertained when the legal separation takes place. When a couple decides to go for a divorce after being legally separated, ideally, the same terms are followed that were mentioned in the document for legal separation.

Marital status

A couple is still married even though there is a legal separation going on. But when the divorce is finalized, the marriage ends.

Child visits

Visitation rights of the child are decided when the legal separation takes place. If a divorce comes through after the legal separation, most of the times, the same terms are followed as mentioned in the document of their legal separation.

Alimony

The terms for alimony are ascertained during the legal separation. The conditions are typically kept same if the divorce gets finalized in the future.

Split of marital property

The couple agrees to the terms while going for a legal separation. When they do decide to finally divorce, the sane conditions that are mentioned in the document for legal separation are followed.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Modifying Spousal Support Orders

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County spousal support; California Divorce MediatorsThere can be a number of reasons why both the domestic partners and spouses may require changing order post judgment.  In case this situation arises, you must show that there have been a change in the circumstances after the partner or spousal support was delivered. It means that something of significance have changed from the time the partner or spousal support order was delivered.

There could be a number of reasons as to why a support order should be changed. It can be that the partner or spouse which was getting the support no longer requires it. It could be also that the person paying the support has suffered considerable drop in his or her income and cannot support the quantum of money required for support. It may be that the partner or spouse who gets the support does not make the effort to be self-supporting- and the partner or spouse can request the court to end support order dependent on this premise. There could also be the cause of the partner or spouse remarrying and thus the support should be ended.

In case the domestic partners or spouses can reach the agreement for new amount of partner or spousal support, it can be possible to write this up as a kind of stipulation or agreement. The document can then be given to judge for the requisite signature and make it the new court order. If both the domestic partners and spouses cannot reach an agreement on this change, the partner or spouse who wants the change should file motion with court requesting a modification of the partner or spousal’s support amount.

Good reasons to ask for new court orders as soon as possible

In case there is a considerable change in factors which the judge regards as important when considering partner or spousal support, you must act quickly so that the partner or spousal support order can mirror the changes. Many people frequently wait when it comes to change this supporting order as they believe that the income drop or job loss is temporary. Other causes include stress and worry and their spousal support worries take a backseat. It may also occur that they are in a situation like prison where it can be extremely hard to file the court papers. It may also be that they believe it will be easy for them to change court orders later when they are less stressed or have plenty of time.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Modification Of Alimony When Financial Circumstances Change

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsAlimony is the amount one spouse needs to pay the other after the two get separated. It is also known as spousal support. Alimony is usually paid when one spouse earns significantly more than the other.  If the paying spouse’s income increases post-divorce, should he/she pay more money as part of alimony?

Can alimony be increased?

The alimony amount cannot necessarily be increased after divorce simply because the spouse receiving the amount isn’t doing well enough in terms of finances.  Moreover, simply because the paying spouse gets a new job that pays him or her more or if he or she has suddenly inherited substantial assets does not mean the other spouse is entitled to more.  That’s because spousal support is meant to maintain the marital standard of living based on the financial circumstances that existed during the marriage, not after marriage.  Generally, the support can be modified downward if the receiving spouse begins earlier more income or the paying spouse loses his or her job or suffers a reduction in income through no fault of their own.

When does the alimony remain unchanged?

The decision to pay more alimony depends on the one paying the money and his financial condition. If the court finds that despite an improvement in financial condition, an individual cannot pay more than he/she is paying, the alimony will remain unchanged. If it is found that the receiver is not utilizing the money in an efficient manner, then also the alimony amount remains unchanged. In some cases, a spouse may demand more money for the children. The case will then fall under child care and not alimony. Also, if a spouse spends the alimony amount on doing something illegal, then not only will the amount stay the same but the spouse will also have to answer to a court of law.

Conclusion

Alimony is one of the most important factors that help individuals stay financially independent after a divorce. The amount of alimony paid by one spouse to the other depends on the financial condition of both of them. However, in some cases, the receiving spouse is entitled to receive more alimony that what was first decided. But there are also situations where the alimony remains unchanged despite the change in the financial situation of either of them.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Men’s Rights Regarding Spousal Support in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Spousal support Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsSociety and the courts have traditionally always favored women in cases of divorce settlement. It is usually the woman who claims alimony from her spouse post-divorce. But in reality, this is not a fair method of determining who has to pay spousal support to whom. In a marital relationship where the wife is in a better financial position than the husband, the wife may be required to pay alimony to her ex-husband.

Men’s rights regarding alimony in California and factors considered while determining alimony amount

The divorce and spousal support laws in California are fair and unbiased and focuses on the financial position and strength of each spouse and not the gender of each spouse. California laws take into consideration the net assets and liabilities or debts of both spouses before determining who has to pay alimony and the amount payable.

Husbands who are getting divorced in the State of California enjoy full rights granted by the law to receive alimony or spousal support from the other party. Some factors that determine the amount of alimony that the husband will get from his wife are the husband’s income from his current job, his income earning capacity, his health and lifestyle, his nature towards his wife during the marriage – whether there were any signs of physical, mental or emotional abuse or domestic violence. All these factors are taken into consideration by the civil court before calculating the alimony payable by the wife to the husband and to make sure that the spousal support terms and conditions are fair, just and equitable.

Husbands also have the right to receive temporary or interim spousal support from their wives if they can prove their poor financial situation. The judge will consider factors such as the husband’s debts, income, and expenses, as well as the current financial burden on their wife and determine an alimony amount which the wife will have to pay to her husband throughout the course of the divorce proceedings to financially support and take care of him.

Short-term spousal support?

If the marriage has lasted less than 10 years then the husband can claim short-term spousal support from his wife if he can prove his financial needs to the judge or family court. The same factors are taken into consideration in determining alimony.

Long-term spousal support?

A marriage that has lasted more than 10 years is considered to be a long-term marriage in the State of California and hence the husband can claim a larger spousal support amount from the wife after a divorce. Again, the judge takes the same factors into consideration before determining the amount of spousal support payable to the husband.

The husband also has the right to enter into a mutual stipulation or agreement with his wife for the amount of spousal support payable without the interference of the court. But this is only if the husband and wife are still on good terms after the divorce and can cooperate and negotiate with each other by themselves or with the help of legal representatives without the need of external interference by the courts.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Are Alimony Payments Tax Deductible?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsAlimony aka spousal support that is paid by one spouse in the form of financial support to the other for spousal maintenance. The purpose of spousal support is to financially help the other parent maintain a certain standard of living after divorce.

Since alimony payments are considered to be a form of income, it is tax deductible. However, there are many requirements without which tax cannot be deducted from alimony payments.

The paying spouse is entitled to tax deductions for payment of spousal support

The IRS allows the one who is paying for alimony to deduct such payments from his or her taxes.  The recipient must also show the payments as a source of income. Tax deductions help both spouses save money and the IRS too can keep a track of the alimony being paid. It helps as supporting evidence when disparities in alimony payments take place. In some cases, it also helps spouses maintain a good relationship with each other which is important when children are involved.

Issues regarding spousal support and taxes

There are certain requirements without which alimony taxes cannot be applied.

  1. During a divorce agreement, the alimony must be clearly mentioned. If nothing of this sort is mentioned in the agreement, then neither parent is responsible for paying any amount of money to the other parent.
  2. Couples usually have to live separately at the time of alimony payments.

Conclusion

Alimony is an important part of divorce and both the paying and receiving spouse should be aware of how taxes get deducted from alimony. It helps save money and protects spouses from doing anything illegal. Also, unfair alimony provisions are also prevented. Since, tax deductions mostly depend on the paying spouse, keeping a good relationship helps. Alimonies are important and it helps one spouse maintain almost the same amount of lifestyle as the other spouse.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Can Adultery Affect Alimony Under California Law?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Spousal support Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsCalifornia has a no-fault divorce law 

California was the first state in the 1970s to implement the concept of no-fault. This means that you can file for a divorce in two possible cases. Either, you state that your marriage has irretrievably broken down or your spousal partner is incurably insane. You won’t need to specify the exact details or prove them in court. Both partners also don’t need to arrive at a consensus regarding the common grounds for divorce. It is enough that one partner wants to end it.

Infidelity or adultery hasn’t been defined by law but most agree that when one partner has a sexual liaison with his/her lover without the consent of his spouse, he has committed a grave indiscretion. However, it can’t be a ground for divorce alone.

However, infidelity can have some impact on the alimony that the dependent or the poorer spouse can demand. Since California is a community property state, whatever property is acquired by the couple during the period of marriage, will be equally distributed among the partners. Both have equal rights, except on properties acquired through inheritance or received as a gift.

Hence, if the wronged partner can prove that the cheating partner has spent a certain portion of the joint income on his/her lover, a judge can accept the submission and order him/her to reimburse the amount that was spent on the other person, to his spouse.

Infidelity is not a punishable offense in California 

California courts can’t order a partner to pay a certain sum of money as compensation to the wronged partner because of his/her misconduct because that would mean that the court is punishing him/her for the “offense”. The soul ground for the alimony or the spousal support would be the financial need of the wronged or financially weaker partner. The court would try to ascertain that the spouse gets enough support so as to reasonably maintain his/her lifestyle that they had during the marriage. They may also look at the ability of the spouse to support themselves and their employability. The ability of the paying spouse to support would also be analyzed and brought under the scanner.

However, if the receiving spouse starts dating or cohabiting another person before the divorce is finalized, then according to Section 4343 of the California Family Code, the court may reduce or altogether withdraw the alimony as it sees that the financial dependency has decreased.

Frequent adultery or cheating may, however, have an impact on the custody rights of a person and may be a ground that leads him to lose his rights to keep his/her child.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

What Are Men’s Rights to Spousal Support in California?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Spousal support Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsSociety and the courts have traditionally always favored women in cases of divorce settlement. It is usually the woman who claims alimony from her spouse post-divorce. But in reality, this is not a fair method of determining who has to pay spousal support to whom. In a relationship the woman may be in a better financial position than the man and in such cases the woman may be be required to pay alimony to her ex-husband.

Men’s rights regarding alimony in California and factors considered while determining alimony amount

The divorce and spousal support laws in California are fair and unbiased and focuses on the financial position and strength of each spouse and not the gender of each spouse. California laws take into consideration the net assets and liabilities or debts of both spouses before determining who has to pay alimony and the amount payable.

Husbands who are getting divorced in the State of California enjoy full rights granted by the law to receive alimony or spousal support from the other party. Some factors that determine the amount of alimony that the husband will get from his wife are the husband’s income from his current job, his income earning capacity, his health and lifestyle, his nature towards his wife during the marriage – whether there were any signs of physical, mental or emotional abuse or domestic violence. All these factors are taken into consideration by the civil court before calculating the alimony payable by the wife to the husband and to make sure that the spousal support terms and conditions are fair, just and equitable.

Husbands also have the right to receive temporary or interim spousal support from their wives if they can prove their poor financial situation. The judge will consider factors such as the husband’s debts, income, and expenses, as well as the current financial burden on their wife and determine an alimony amount which the wife will have to pay to her husband throughout the course of the divorce proceedings to financially support and take care of him.

Short-term spousal support

If the marriage has lasted less than 10 years then the husband can claim short-term spousal support from his wife if he can prove his financial needs to the judge or family court. The same factors are taken into consideration in determining alimony.

Long-term spousal support

A marriage that has lasted more than 10 years is considered to be a long-term marriage in the state of California and hence the husband can claim a larger spousal support amount from the wife after a divorce. Again, the judge takes the same factors into consideration before determining the amount of spousal support payable to the husband.

The husband also has the right to enter into a mutual stipulation or agreement with his wife for the amount of spousal support payable without the interference of the court. But this is only if the husband and wife are still on good terms after the divorce and can cooperate and negotiate with each other by themselves or with the help of legal representatives without the need of external interference by the courts.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

How To Collect Unpaid Alimony in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County spousal support; California Divorce MediatorsAlimony is the money payable by the higher income earning party or spouse to the lower income earning party after the couple has separated or divorced. Usually, a family court issues an order stating the amount of alimony or spousal support payable by the financially more stable partner to his or her spouse until the latter can find a better job or marry someone else whichever is earlier.

Remedies available to the aggrieved spouse to whom alimony is payable

In the State of California, the judge considers 13 different circumstances when he has to determine the amount of alimony payable and the period of time for which it will be payable. Spousal and child support is compulsorily payable by the person whose name is mentioned in the court order passed. If the spouse who is supposed to make regular alimony payments fails to do so within the stipulated periods of time, then the other spouse can exercise remedial measures against the defaulting party.

The spouse can first apply to the spousal or child support agency that is handling your case and asks for an enforcement order to be passed. The agency will then calculate the amount of alimony due from the other spouse mentioned in the spousal support order previously passed by the family court and order the same to be paid by the defaulting spouse. The spouse will be required to state his or her reasons as to why the alimony payments were not made on time and will be given a reasonable amount of time to arrange for the money.

What are the more serious steps that can be taken against the defaulting spouse?

The spouse to whom the alimony is payable to is required to keep detailed statements and information about the alimony payments made, time of payments, etc. before initiating any legal action or court proceedings against the other spouse. If the defaulting spouse ignores to make payments after being notified by the spousal or child support agency, the agency can then issue spousal support orders by garnishing bank accounts or wages of the defaulting spouse, seizing his property, suspending his driver’s license and other work licenses. California laws allow these agencies to issue garnishing orders to the spouse and divert state or federal tax refunds.

Last resort remedial measures that can be taken

If after all this the spouse fails to pay the alimony the spousal support agency and the aggrieved spouse can seek to file a wage garnishment, also known as an order for withholding income for support and is available in California. The order is served on the other spouse’s employer, for that employer to garnish the wages for payment of support.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

How Does The Length Of A Marriage Affect A Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDuring the financial settlement of a divorce, the court considers many factors. One of the factors that the Court considers is the age of both partners and the second is the length of the relationship. Note, however, that the outcome of a divorce case highly depends on the facts of an individual case and the financial circumstances of both you and your partner.

Why the duration of marriage matters

Two facets of property division can be influenced by your marriage’s length. First, the duration your marriage can decide the precise distribution of property. Second, the longer you are married, the more complex will be the property division and vice-versa.

It is believed that couples who have been wedded for a longer time are likely to have more property and more various property holdings or interests. Property may comprise real estate and related investments, closely held businesses or professional practices, employee stock options and grants. It could also include various retirement as well as investment accounts.

California Family Code section 4320

California Family Code section 4320 states that the shorter the marriage, the shorter the duration of alimony (spousal support) in the State of California.  It also means that you get a shorter amount of time as a spouse to become self-supporting. Similarly, the longer the marriage, the longer the time you have spent outside the workforce, and so the greater will the duration of alimony be. The court will also provide you more time to get back into the workforce.

You might have heard or read that a marriage of 10 years or more means automatic lifetime alimony. Not really. If you and your spouse are married for less than 10 years, it generally means the alimony will likely be for no more than one-half the duration of the marriage. In some cases, if your marriage lasts 10 years or more, the court may determine that your spouse can become self-supporting and cut down the alimony accordingly. In most cases, the closer your marriage is to the ten-year mark, the more likely you are to receive less support depending on the court’s order. If you are married for a longer period of the time over 10 years, it means that normally the court will have continuing jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support and that other than the remarriage of the spouse receiving the support or the death of either party, there is no automatic termination date.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation