Kevin Qualls Family Law
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What factors are considered when awarding alimony?

Alimony has come under fire in many states for supposedly being outdated. However, for spouses in California that are divorcing after many years of marriage or if one spouse was not in the workforce while married, alimony can be a crucial safety net for the receiving spouse while he or she works to become self-supporting.

How will California courts determine what an appropriate amount of alimony is? In general, courts in the Golden State will examine each party's income when determining alimony. Income includes not just your wages, but also commissions, trust income, dividends and other sources of income. After determining each party's gross monthly income, an online support calculator will be used to determine what an appropriate amount of alimony should be. In addition, the length of the marriage will be examined. If the parties were married for less than a decade, an award of alimony will not last more than one-half the number of years the couple was married. If the parties were married for more than a decade, an award of alimony can last longer and in some cases may even be indefinite.

Courts in California may examine other factors as well when issuing an alimony award. For example, the standard of living the couple enjoyed while married may be considered. The paying party's ability to pay alimony as well as the receiving party's earning potential may also be considered, as may each party's age and health. Any issues relating to domestic violence or other crimes may also be taken into account. And in some cases, the parties themselves are able to come to an out-of-court agreement regarding a fair amount of alimony.

Not every couple in California will decide to pursue alimony, but it may be one option to consider. For those who do decide to pursue alimony after a divorce, it is important that they understand all their options for alimony so they can pursue an amount that is fair and appropriate. Since this post is for general information only, and cannot promise any specific result when it comes to determining alimony, those who wish to pursue it may want to do so with the help of an attorney.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: Alimony -- Are You On The Hook?" Caroline Choi, Nov. 13, 2015

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