Divorce Lawyers Serving Stockton and Manteca Fight for Fair Alimony
Determined representation during and after divorce
At San Joaquin Family Law, we know that the financial aspects of your divorce can cause great anxiety. Spousal support, commonly known as alimony, is a great concern for dependent spouses who need financial security and supporting spouses who worry they’ll be paying large sums into the distant future. Our skilled family law attorneys work hard to give you every advantage under the law. We negotiate support as part of your settlement agreement whenever possible, so neither party gets blindsided by a judge’s decision. If we cannot reach a negotiated settlement, we fight for you in court.
Temporary support during court adjudications
Dependent spouses or registered domestic partners should not feel trapped in an abusive relationship because of finances. Once you file for divorce, domestic partnership dissolution or legal separation, you may begin to receive temporary support, including amounts necessary to pay the legal fees for your case. You can also file for temporary support when you seek a domestic violence restraining order.
Spousal support following a California divorce or partnership dissolution
The court considers many factors when deciding whether to order alimony for a dependent spouse or domestic partner, how much that support should be and how long it should last. One guiding principle is to maintain the dependent party at a standard of living similar to that enjoyed during the marriage or partnership. Balancing this principle is the goal that a dependent spouse should become self-sufficient within a reasonable time. California family law allows a judge to exercise discretion when deciding on a reasonable length of time for support, but advises that a period equal to half the duration of the union is reasonable.
A judge considers many factors when deciding how quickly a spouse should be able to become self-sufficient, including:
- The dependent spouse’s marketable skills
- The job market for those skills
- The time and expense necessary to acquire education or training to develop more marketable skills
- The extent to which attention to domestic duties during the marriage caused the erosion of marketable skills
In cases of “long-term” marriages or partnerships, a judge may decline to set an end date for alimony.
Modification and enforcement of alimony orders after divorce
Spousal support in California terminates automatically if either of the spouses dies or if the dependent spouse remarries or enters into a registered domestic partnership. If your ex-spouse begins cohabiting with a partner, that is not enough to terminate alimony, but it may give you grounds to petition the court to lessen or end support payments. Similarly, if a dependent spouse becomes financially self-sufficient ahead of schedule, the payor spouse may ask the court to terminate the obligation early.
While an alimony order remains in place, the recipient may petition the court to enforce payments. Payors who have not met their obligations can face contempt of court charges. The court may order wages to be garnished or place the payor in jail.
Contact a diligent and determined family law firm serving Stockton and Manteca
Spousal support can be a source of great anxiety during divorce. But San Joaquin Family Law works diligently to seek an alimony order appropriate for your circumstances. To schedule a free initial consultation, call 209.478.2700 or contact our office online.