Can You Get Alimony?


Alimony, called “spousal support” in California law, is an arrangement in which one spouse makes regular payments to the other spouse inorder to allow them to maintain a standard of living close to the standard of living that they enjoyed during the marriage. If you are seeking spousal support in your divorce, it’s important to understand that California judges have significant discretion when determining whether to award alimony, so it’scritical to retain an attorney to represent your interests and present yourcase in the best light possible.

When is Alimony Awarded?

Under California law, there is no set formula that is used to determine whether or how much alimony a person will receive. Instead, California FamilyCode section 4320 sets out certain factors that a judge must consider in making a decision about spousal support. These factors include the following:

  • Whether the earning power of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, considering the marketable skills the party asking for support has, the job market for those skills, time and expense the spouse or partner who gets support will need to get the education or training to develop more marketable skills or to get a job,  the extent that the ability to earn income ofthe spouse or partner who gets support was affected by periods of unemployment during the marriage/partnership when he or she was devoted to domestic duties.
  • Each party’s needs, based on the standard of living established during the marriage.
  • The extent to which the party seeking support helped the other party obtain an education,training, a career position, or a license.
  • The ability of the supporting party to pay, considering his or her earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living.
  • The obligations and assets of each party.
  • The age and health of each party.
  • Whether working would make it too hard to take care of the children.
  • Any history of domestic violence.
  • The tax consequences of spousal support.
  • The length of the marriage

The goal of spousal support is that the supported party will be self-supporting within a “reasonable amount of time,” which the law says is“generally” one-half the length of the marriage. There is an exception to thisrule for marriages of a long duration, and under California FamilyCode Section 4336 there is a presumption that marriages of 10 years or more fall into this category. That being said, the law gives judges significant discretion, and they may award longer or short periods of support for both long and short marriages, depending on the facts.

Call Irwin & Irwin Today to Schedule a Consultation with an Orange County Divorce Attorney

 Alimony and other issues that arise during divorce can have a significant impact on your life for years to come. For this reason, it’s critical that you do everything you can to protect your rights and resolve your divorce as favorably as possible. To schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer in Orange County, call Irwin & Irwin today at 714-222-3992 or contact us online.