Dedicated Alimony Attorneys Serving Marin County, CA
Alimony in California is a complicated matter. It is important, however, to understand how it could affect your divorce. Your handling of alimony in a Marin County divorce or separation can have a substantial impact on your financial future. Contact a Marin County alimony lawyer from the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., for help with alimony during a divorce case. Our experienced lawyers in Marin County can protect your rights.
Why Choose Our Marin County Alimony Attorneys?
- We provide personal attention and thoughtful representation to each client. Your lawyer will prioritize your unique needs and interests.
- Our lawyers have vast experience with all types of family law matters, including complex divorce and separation cases involving alimony claims.
- We have litigators who provide effective advocacy in and out of court. Whether your case settles at mediation or requires a trial, we are prepared for anything.
Alimony Quick Links
- Information About Alimony in Marin County
- Calculating Spousal Support
- Spouses Refuse To Pay Support
- Alimony Modifications
- How a Lawyer Can Help
- Contact Us
What Is Alimony?
Alimony – also known as spousal support and spousal maintenance – is an order requiring one spouse to pay the other to maintain the recipient’s standard of living after a divorce or separation. Alimony gives a lesser-earning spouse the funds needed to continue the lifestyle he or she enjoyed during the marriage or partnership. An alimony court order may continue for as long as the receiving spouse needs the money. It may also have a specific end date, or, in some cases, it could be permanent.
How Does Alimony Work?
Alimony may be available in a divorce case if a significant disparity exists between each spouses’ earning. A judge in Marin County will consider how much each spouse earns, as well as the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage or partnership. A judge will also look at each spouse’s ability to earn in the future, such as a person’s education, skill and job experience. Finally, a judge will take the length of the marriage or partnership into consideration.
If a judge believes a party will be unable to maintain his or her standard of living after a divorce, the judge will grant the alimony request. There are two types of alimony available in California: temporary and permanent. This refers not to the length of the alimony agreement but to when the alimony is given. Temporary alimony is given after a couple separates but before the divorce is finalized. This type of order can give a spouse the money he or she needs to pay for bills and living expenses during a divorce. Permanent alimony is an order granted by a judge as part of a divorce decree.
Factors California Courts Consider
The California Family Code requires that courts consider all of the following factors when determining spousal support:
- The needs of each spouse based on the standard of living established during the marriage
- The supporting spouse’s ability to pay spousal support, considering their earning capacity, income, assets and standard of living
- The length of the marriage
- The marketable skills of the supported party, including the job market for those skills, the possible need for retraining or education and the time and expenses necessary for the supported party to acquire additional training or education to develop those skills
- Whether the supported spouse’s earning capacity was negatively affected by periods of unemployment to support the other spouse or perform domestic duties
- Whether the supported spouse contributed to the supporting spouse’s education, training, career or license
- Each spouse’s debts and assets
- The age and health of both spouses
- The ability of the supported spouse to be employed without unduly interfering with the interest of the couple’s children
- Any history of relevant domestic violence
- The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
- The goal that the supported spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time
- The immediate and specific tax consequences to each spouse
- The balance of hardships to each spouse
- Any other relevant factor
The court will attempt to make a fair decision based on the specific circumstances of the spouses
Calculating Spousal Support
The best way to gain an understanding of how much you or your ex-spouse may be made to pay in alimony is by consulting with an attorney in Marin County. This is because each case is unique. The courts do not apply a blanket rule to each case or rely on average spousal support awards. Instead, it calculates alimony on a case-by-case basis. Courts in different counties also use different rules and formulas to calculate spousal support. You can look up these rules in your county to learn more about how your order might be calculated.
Note that these rules only apply to temporary spousal support orders in California. A judge will not use a formula to calculate permanent spousal support. Instead, a judge will calculate a fair or equitable amount in alimony based on the factors outlined in California Family Code Section 4320. These factors include the length of the relationship, the standard of living during the marriage, how much each person can afford to pay, the age and overall health of each party, marital debts and assets, and more.
How Long Does Alimony Last?
Despite its name, permanent alimony may not last indefinitely. It can have a specific end date according to the length of the marriage. In general, if the marriage lasted less than 10 years the courts in California will issue a spousal support order for half the length of a marriage. For longer marriages, spousal support typically lasts until the recipient remarries, dies or the court issues a new order ending the support. It is possible for an alimony order to last for life, in some cases.
What Is A Gavron Warning
As stated above, spousal support does not always last forever. In some cases, the court may issue a Gavron warning, which notifies the supported spouse that they must make reasonable efforts to provide for their own financial needs. The supporting party or their attorney can ask the court to make this warning. The judge usually has the discretion to determine whether to issue such a warning. In some cases, the Gavron warning is included in the wording of the divorce agreement.
Gavron warnings can be powerful for the supporting spouse because they establish a set time limit for spousal support. If the spouse has not taken reasonable steps to become partially or fully financially independent, spousal support can end.
Gavron warnings are used in conjunction with Richmond orders. Gavron warnings are discretionary and may not be used in all cases, such as when long-duration marriages are involved.
What Is A Richmond Order?
A Richmond order gives the supported spouse notice that on a specific date spousal support will end. The notice also states that after that date, the court can no longer extend or award alimony unless the supported spouse files a motion before that date and can show a continued need for support.
What If Your Spouse Refuses To Pay Alimony?
An alimony order is a legally binding order that requires the paying party to keep up with the payments until the end date on the order or until the court changes or terminates the order. If your ex-spouse refuses to pay spousal support after your divorce or legal separation, you can go to court to enforce the order.
The courts can hold your ex in contempt of court, for example, for directly disobeying a court order. This can result in fines and even jail time if your spouse still refuses to pay spousal support. The courts may also be able to take steps to garnish your ex’s wages or place liens on assets to pay for the support owed. In addition, if your ex falls behind on payments, he or she will be legally required to pay a 10-percent interest on the missed payments per year.
Can You Modify A Spousal Support Order?
If your circumstances substantially change after a court grants an alimony order, you can submit a motion to request a modification. A substantial change could mean the loss of your job or your ex-spouse getting remarried. It is critical to use the right outlets to have your spousal support order changed or terminated – not to simply come to a verbal agreement with your ex. The courts only honor their own orders, meaning you could still be held accountable for any unpaid alimony regardless of an agreement with your ex. If you believe your situation warrants an alimony modification, contact an attorney to help you submit the request.
How Our Marin County Alimony Lawyer Can Help
If you wish to pursue a claim for alimony or defend against one in Marin County, hire an attorney to represent you. A divorce lawyer will have an in-depth understanding of the laws and statutes related to spousal maintenance in your county. Your lawyer will be able to file a claim for alimony on your behalf, or defend against such a request. An experienced alimony attorney can help you with tailored legal services from the very beginning of your case, including:
- Filing your divorce or legal separation petition.
- Submitting your request for temporary and/or permanent alimony.
- Calculating how much you may receive or have to pay in alimony.
- Helping you understand the rules used in your county’s courthouse.
- Providing evidence of your financial need for alimony.
- Submitting financial documents and statements, as required by the courts.
- Overcoming challenges, such as hidden assets.
- Helping you and your ex-spouse come to a settlement agreement that protects your rights.
- Representing you during a divorce trial, if necessary.
If a judge has already made a spousal support order, you may still need assistance from an attorney in the future. A lawyer can help you seek a legal remedy if your ex is refusing to pay alimony, for example, or if you need to modify your spousal support order in Marin County. Hiring an attorney to represent you can provide a more efficient legal process and the results that you need.
Contact Our Marin County Alimony Attorney Today
It is important to protect your legal rights as a party involved in a divorce or legal separation case in California. Tough issues such as spousal support can require intervention from a family law attorney. Consult with an attorney from the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., as soon as possible. Our Marin County alimony lawyers can help you achieve a positive case outcome. Call (866) 963-8623 today.