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How is alimony calculated in California?

If you’re like many of our San Francisco readers then you are probably going through the divorce or separation process and are looking for some answers to your most pressing legal questions. One of the questions you may have on your mind is one that is asked quite frequently: how is alimony calculated in California? And it’s a question we hope to answer today in this week’s blog post.

Once a divorce or separation has been granted, a family law court may order a spouse or domestic partner to pay support to the other partner. This is called alimony, or Marvin actions in the event of a domestic partnership. While many court orders enforce support payments after the separation process is complete, a person may ask a judge to order the start of payments during the process as well.

As some of you may not know, there is no simple formula for calculating spousal support payments. Family law judges here in California have to consider a number of factors that are outlined in Section 4320 of our state’s Family Code. Some things that are often considered are:

  • Length of relationship (be it a marriage or domestic partnership)
  • Age and health of both parties
  • Assets and liabilities
  • The financial needs of each party
  • Each partners earning capacity
  • Tax impact for receiving support payments

Just like with child support payments, spouses can request a modification of payments if financial situations have changed.

It’s important to point out that the process of assigning support obligations and calculating payments can raise a number of legal issues that could be difficult to handle on your own. To avoid any potential problems, many people seek the help of an attorney with extensive knowledge in family law who not only knows how to navigate the system but has your best interests in mind as well.