Santa Barbara Alimony Lawyer
Alimony, also known as spousal support, can be paid to a spouse after divorce to help them get back on their own two feet and support themselves financially. In some cases where a spouse has a physical or mental disability, alimony may be permanent. If you are considering divorce and think you might need spousal support as part of your divorce case, contact The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today.
Our Santa Barbara alimony lawyers work to help our divorce clients with alimony. Whether you are seeking to receive alimony or fighting payment, our attorneys may be able to help you with your case. To schedule a free legal consultation, contact us online or call us today at (805) 643-5555.
What is Alimony in California?
“Alimony” is the traditional name for spousal support. This money is paid to support your ex-spouse after a divorce by providing payments for basic needs and expenses. This means alimony should be used to cover expenses like housing, groceries, medical bills, and other necessities.
Spousal support often goes hand-in-hand with child support. While child support is paid to support the children, none of that money should go to the ex-spouse for their own support. Instead, they may be entitled to additional funds paid as alimony.
When is Alimony Paid in a California Divorce?
Courts order alimony in a number of situations. In many cases, alimony does not begin until the divorce is finalized. However, alimony pendente lite may be available while divorce litigation is pending. This allows you to start receiving spousal support while you await your case being finalized, providing you with housing and other support, as well as providing you with the funding to pay for a divorce lawyer.
To receive alimony after your divorce, you must show the court that you need alimony. Courts look at numerous factors when deciding if alimony is justified, including the following:
- Each party’s earning capacity
- Each party’s job skills and training
- How unemployment during the life of the marriage affects their ability to find work
- Each party’s contribution to the other’s education and job training
- The proposed payor’s ability to pay
- Each party’s needs, as reflected by their standard of living during the marriage
- Each party’s debts and assets
- The length of the marriage
- A party’s ability to work for self-support while caring for minor children
- Each party’s age and health condition
- Domestic violence between the parties
- The tax consequences of paying and receiving alimony
- “The balance of the hardships to each party”
When looking at these factors, courts also keep in mind that the ultimate goal is that the parties are each “self-supporting within a reasonable time.” The courts do not expect spousal or partner support to be a permanent arrangement, and most alimony is expected to last long enough for the spouse to get job training or education, find a job, and start supporting themselves as a single adult. If the recipient is unable to support themselves, alimony may be permanent.
Who Pays Spousal Support in CA?
There is a traditional assumption that a husband pays alimony to his ex-wife. However, California law has no rules or laws stating that the husband must pay and the wife must receive alimony, especially since same-sex marriage makes such a rule unusable. Unsurprisingly, the spouse with higher income usually pays alimony and the spouse that needs help usually receives it. However, even in cases where both spouses have income, factors like the standard of living during the marriage or the time and expense of taking care of children may sway the court to award alimony in surprising ways.
How is Alimony Calculated in Santa Barbara?
Determining how much alimony you may be forced to pay or entitled to receive is a very fact-specific decision. Courts typically award alimony in a specific amount and for a specific period based on determinations made during divorce proceedings. The alimony should be tailored to the recipient’s specific needs and should reflect the actual cost of things like housing and basic necessities.
When determining the cost, courts look at bills and other evidence of the cost of living, but they also look at the alimony factors listed above. When looking at these factors, courts try to balance the burden of supporting an adult who was previously supported by their spouse and the goal of ensuring that the recipient is able to support themselves after a period of time.
Alimony is also an opportunity for courts to balance needs and expenses fairly, which could include “rehabilitative” alimony. If a spouse sacrificed a lot of time, money, and personal opportunities during the marriage, the courts may award them additional alimony to pay them back for things like supporting their spouse through education or paying for professional licensing. They may also award a victim of domestic abuse additional alimony.
Call Our Santa Barbara Spousal Support Lawyers for a Free Consultation on Your Case
If you are considering filing for divorce and think that you might need ongoing support during and after the divorce, call the Santa Barbara alimony lawyers at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today. Our attorneys represent husbands and wives in divorce proceedings and work to get them the divorce and ongoing support that they need. To schedule your free consultation, call our law offices today at (805) 643-5555, or contact us online.