In California, spousal support (also known as “alimony”) is used to help spouses continue to get the financial support they need after a divorce. If you are seeking a divorce and think that you might need ongoing financial support after the divorce is finalized – or during the divorce process – you might qualify for alimony. Our Ventura alimony lawyers discuss some of the factors a court looks at when deciding to grant alimony and how you might qualify for spousal support in California. For help with your alimony claim, call our law offices today to set up a free legal consultation.
Factors to Qualify for Spousal Support in California
When you apply for alimony, the court will look at various factors to see if you should get alimony or not. Spousal support is not guaranteed in California, and you need to demonstrate to the court that you need alimony before they will grant it to you.
In most California divorce cases, courts aim to see that both spouses will be able to stand on their own financially, severing any economic link as well as ending the marriage. This means that the court’s ideal situation is that both spouses will be able to get a job, pay for their own needs, and afford their own housing, support, and medical care without help from their ex-spouse. There are many factors that get in the way of your ability to do this that may lead to alimony.
If you have a medical problem that prevents you from working and supporting yourself, alimony will be more likely. The court may be able to see that your financial support comes from your spouse, especially if you have a severe disability, face constant hospitalization, or have a health condition that makes it difficult to work to support yourself. In these cases, courts may continue your spouse’s obligation to support you by ordering alimony.
Courts are also more likely to grant alimony after a very long marriage. If one spouse worked while the other was a stay-at-home spouse or a stay-at-home parent, the non-working spouse is likely accustomed to having support provided. Even if both spouses did work, the lower-paid spouse is still accustomed to some level of support. For especially long marriages, it is unfair to ask a spouse to suddenly end that lifestyle, and courts may be willing to award them alimony – at least for a period of time after the divorce.
Another concern if one spouse did not work during their marriage is the question of whether they will be able to find a job at all after divorce. If the spouse has no job skills, training, education, or abilities that could lead to a job to support them, the court may order alimony. In many cases, this will be “rehabilitative” alimony to support them while they seek training or education. In other cases, this may be ongoing alimony to continue to support a spouse who cannot work.
If one of the reasons that the spouse did not work during their marriage was to care for shared children, the court may take this into account. A stay-at-home parent “works” in the family by caring for the children, and this parent should not be expected to jump straight into the workforce after a divorce. Alimony can help support them while they transition to being a single parent or transition to shared custody. If their continued care for their children from the marriage will make it difficult to find time for a job, ongoing alimony may be used to continue to support them and give them time to care for the children. This alimony could also be reduced to merely supplement a part-time job rather than fully pay for all support needs.
The court can also look at other factors when determining whether or not to grant alimony in your case. In fact, “[a]ny other factors the court determines are just and equitable” may be used, in addition to the other alimony factors listed in California Family Code § 4320.
When Can the Court Deny Alimony in California?
If you are applying for alimony, you may wonder what reasons the court might use to deny you alimony. Similarly, spouses trying to fight alimony claims may wonder what arguments they can make to try to get the court to lower alimony or deny their spouse ongoing spousal support payments.
It is important to remember that alimony is not guaranteed in California. Typically, the person seeking alimony needs to prove they need it before the court will grant their request. This effectively means that alimony requests are denied by default unless you can prove you truly need alimony.
Specifically, alimony is usually denied if there is evidence that the spouse can work to support themselves. Young, able-bodied divorcees are generally expected to rejoin the workforce and work to provide for themselves. If you have job training or have a career of your own, courts may hesitate to grant alimony. Similarly, applicants lacking any physical disabilities or children that keep them from working might also be denied alimony.
If your case has some factors for alimony and some factors against alimony, the court may grant you alimony on a limited basis. This could mean receiving low alimony payments or may result in alimony that lasts only long enough to help you get back on your feet instead of ongoing alimony.
Call Our Ventura Alimony Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation
If you are seeking alimony, it is vital to talk to an attorney about your case. Claiming alimony can be a difficult process, especially if you only meet some of the typical qualifying factors for alimony. Our experienced Ventura family law attorneys can help you properly frame your case and argue for alimony based on complex legal factors. For help with your alimony case, contact the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today for a free legal consultation. Our number is (805) 643-5555.