Ventura, CA Alimony Lawyer
Alimony, which is sometimes called “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance,” frequently becomes a point of contention in Ventura divorce proceedings. The family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC can help you efficiently resolve any alimony disputes that may have arisen between you and your spouse during the California divorce process. We can also help if you have already finalized your divorce, and now require assistance modifying, ending, or enforcing spousal support orders. If your ex-husband or ex-wife has stopped making alimony payments, we can help you obtain the financial support that you are entitled to.
With law offices conveniently located in Ventura, our trusted legal team is proud to serve the residents of California. Bringing years of experience to every case we handle, our law firm has developed a reputation for providing effective, intelligent, results-oriented representation.
To learn more about how we can assist you with your alimony matter, contact our law offices at (805) 643-5555 today. We are happy to answer your questions, discuss your concerns, and help you understand your legal rights.
How Are Alimony Payments Calculated in California?
There is a common assumption or misconception that the person who pays alimony (called the “payor,” “obligor” or “supporting party”) always ends up being the husband, while the person who receives alimony (called the “obligee,” “recipient” or “supported party”) always ends up being the wife. In fact, alimony determinations are based upon financial factors, not gender. Moreover, alimony is available in same-sex divorce proceedings. Domestic partners can also seek support, which is called “partner support,” if terminating a domestic partnership. Our spousal support attorneys will make sure that you are not unfairly victimized by gender bias or other forms of discrimination in family court.
The purpose of alimony is not to punish the payor, but to help the recipient maintain the marital standard of living (MSOL) that was established during the marriage, with the expectation that the recipient spouse will work toward financial self-sufficiency within a reasonable period of time. Toward that end, there are numerous factors that courts consider when determining alimony in Ventura County. These factors are set forth under California Family Code § 4320, and include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Each spouse’s age and health.
- Each spouse’s debts and assets, such as property or vehicles.
- How each spouse’s tax obligations will be affected.
- How long it will take for the recipient spouse to complete the training or education required to become financially independent.
- The ability of the recipient spouse to work without having a detrimental effect on his or her children – for example, how many hours each day can the recipient be away from home? Will he or she need to hire a babysitter, or send the child to daycare?
- The recipient spouse’s marketable skills.
- Whether either spouse has a history of domestic violence, domestic abuse, or other criminal convictions.
- Whether the recipient spouse helped pay for the supporting spouse’s college education or other academic or professional training, and if so, to what extent.
- “The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living.”
- “Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.”
Spousal Support Guidelines in California
Alimony is a payment one spouse makes to the other following a divorce in California. Additionally, either spouse may request alimony payments during the divorce proceedings. Alimony that is paid while the divorce is pending is called “temporary alimony.” Alimony that is paid after the divorce ends, and the court has issued a final judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, is called “permanent alimony.”
These terms can create confusion, particularly the term “permanent alimony,” which seems to imply that the obligor will be required to continue making spousal support payments forever until his or her death. Though there are some cases in which spousal support truly is permanent, most alimony payment plans are eventually reduced or terminated by the payor spouse with assistance from a Ventura spousal support lawyer.
If you and your spouse were married for 10 years or longer, the courts will consider your marriage to be a “long-term marriage.” Many Californians mistakenly believe that a long-term marriage will result in automatic permanent alimony, but this is not actually true. While the court does consider the duration of a marriage when calculating alimony payments, Cal. Family Code § 4336(c) makes a critical provision: “Nothing in this section limits the court’s discretion to terminate spousal support in later proceedings on a showing of changed circumstances.”
Depending on your unique situation, it may be possible to lower your alimony payments, request higher alimony payments, or even have alimony terminated. For example, it may be possible for a paying spouse to reduce alimony payments if he or she becomes injured or disabled, develops a serious illness, or has other major changes to his or her financial circumstances. Additionally, under Cal. Family Code § 4337, “Except as otherwise agreed by the parties in writing, the obligation of a party under an order for the support of the other party terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the other party.”
Contact Our Ventura, CA Alimony Attorneys for Legal Help Getting Spousal Support
Regardless of whether you are the party paying, receiving, or seeking alimony, a California alimony lawyer from Bamieh & De Smeth can advocate for you to receive higher payments, make lower payments, modify your current payment arrangement, or terminate payments altogether. Our attorneys are aggressive negotiators who can protect your legal rights throughout the alimony negotiation process, while advising you as to you and your spouse’s financial responsibilities at all stages.
Whether you are obligor or obligee, the alimony arrangements you ultimately agree to can make a world of financial difference when you are trying to transition successfully into the next phase of your life after divorce. When so much is at stake, make sure you have the benefit of personalized, experience-driven legal guidance from our alimony attorneys in Southern California. We are here to help you understand the laws surrounding divorce and alimony, and how they affect you at each phase of the divorce process.
For a free consultation about changing alimony, terminating alimony, how to get alimony, or other aspects of spousal support laws in California, call The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC at (805) 643-5555. We will keep your consultation confidential.