If you’re financially dependent on your spouse, getting divorced can be incredibly stressful. You have to figure out who you are outside of your marriage, but you also have to find a way to support yourself. The courts understand that financially dependent spouses may not be able to immediately pay their bills or secure safe and adequate housing without the help of their spouse. That’s where alimony comes into play. While your California family law attorney will be able to explain your need for alimony to the court, it’s still helpful for you to understand exactly how it works.
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is a form of spousal support awarded to spouses as part of a divorce to help cover their routine expenses. It’s a way for a working spouse to provide a non-working spouse or a working spouse with a lower income enough money to maintain their current standard of living. If awarded by the court, alimony payments are legally required and failing to send payments can result in penalties like fines and time in prison.
How Is Alimony Calculated?
The amount of alimony you’re entitled to will depend on your unique situation. Judges take several factors into consideration when determining eligibility and alimony amount, including the following:
- The length of your marriage: The longer you’re married, the more alimony the courts are likely to award you.
- Your current standard of living: If you’re used to living a certain lifestyle, the court will take that lifestyle into consideration.
- Your current debts: If you and your spouse have a lot of debt that you’re dividing, the court will consider the debt level and payments.
- Your total assets: The court will take into consideration the assets and savings you have to help cover your expenses.
The exact amount you receive will depend on the above factors as well as your spouse’s income level and earning potential. If you’re able to work and could support yourself with relative ease, the court may be hesitant to award alimony or may award a small amount on a temporary basis until you’re on your feet.
What Can You Do if You Disagree With the Amount?
If you’re worried that the amount the court awards you isn’t enough, you can petition the court to review your case. Your California family law attorney will be able to help you put together evidence illustrating the financial strain you’re under. With that evidence, they’ll petition the court and encourage them to review their original assessment. Keep in mind that there’s no guarantee that the court will give you a larger spousal support amount. The court tries to be balanced and fair when making their decision.
Reach Out to an Experienced California Family Law Attorney
If you and your spouse have decided that divorce is the right option, the sooner you can speak with a California family law attorney, the better. At Jackman Law, we understand that every marriage is unique and we know that financially dependent spouses need and are entitled to alimony payments. Our team will represent your interests so you can get a fair settlement. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.