Alimony In California

The legal accountability by one spouse to the other to provide financial support pre and post-divorce is referred to as alimony. Alimony originated with the intent to balance the consequences of a divorce, such as mitigating any unfair financial consequences of one spouse over the other. Alimony is oftentimes referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support. It was not until the 1970’s that alimony began the road to equality. Prior to this time, the husband traditionally paid alimony to the wife without question. Thanks to progressing movements in gender equality, many courts have now recognized the husband as having equal rights to alimony as the wife and the reformation of alimony laws across the nation have subsequently taken place.

Viewing alimony from a national perspective, courts generally consider several factors when evaluating an alimony award, including the length of the separation, the length of the marriage, spousal age, income and earning capacity of each spouse, overall health of each spouse, the reasons for divorce, and the future financial projections of each spouse.

Alimony, as it relates specifically to California family law, considers the following for an alimony award:

  • The present and future earning capacities of each spouse and the ability to maintain the established standard of living;
  • The contribution of each party to the marriage;
  • The ability of the spouse to pay alimony;
  • The financial needs of each party based on the established standard set forth;
  • The number of years or month of the marriage;
  • The roles and responsibilities of each party;
  • The health and age of each party;
  • Any domestic violence history;
  • The tax consequences;
  • The balance of hardships;
  • The period of time it will take for the supported spouse to become self-supported
  • Additional factors

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