Either the petitioner or the respondent can request spousal support in California. Spousal support, also known as alimony, is based on a number of factors. Some factors are the gross income of both parties, the number of dependents, annual child support payments and healthcare premiums paid. Attorneys and judges may also look at factors such as age, health, earning capacity as well as lifestyle maintenance. Judges have a certain amount of leeway when calculating spousal support and a time period associated with it.
Filing for Spousal Support:
Parties living separately may file for spousal support. Sometimes parties that cohabitate also request spousal support. In this instance, one party may refuse to pay for bills even though he/she is working and receiving revenue. When preparing the initial filing, or a response, remember to check the correct box under ‘spousal or domestic partner support’. Here you can state that you want support. In addition, you may check the box to not consider it for your partner.
It’s a good idea to file a Request for Order for temporary spousal support. This would occur when the parties are not cooperating. A temporary order is dependent on only 2 factors, namely differential in income and need. A permanent order is more likely when a temporary order is already in place.
Either party may request support regardless of the length of the marriage. The timeframe for divorce or legal separation is from the date of marriage to the date of separation. In California, it is not necessary to file for a legal separation in order to divorce. The date of separation is usually the move out date. It may also be the date that one or both parties decide that the marriage is no longer working. Support can be calculated for a certain period of time when the marriage is under 10 years. This is typically 1/2 the length of the marriage. However, for a marriage over 10 years, the length of time may be lifetime or until remarriage or death.
A Spousal Support Order:
In 2017 Congress passed a law that changed who paid the taxes for support. The payer of spousal support will now pay tax on the amount paid. The payee will no longer pay tax on the support received. This change took effect in 2019.
When the parties can agree on support and a timeframe for it then a temporary order may not be necessary. A divorce or a legal separation with a written agreement is less costly and requires less time. This is always the best option if possible.
When the parties do not agree, the court will make a ruling. This may happen by a hearing for temporary orders and/or in a trial for permanent orders. The court will specify the amount to be paid, how it is to be paid and the period of time. In most instances, the spousal support ruling is followed. However, there are times when the spouse does not pay as per the court order. In this case the payee may wish to garnish the wages of the payer. When there are problems collecting, the payee may need to hire a collection firm .
Legal Action Workshop has been helping our clients with spousal support issues for over 35 years. Our experienced attorneys will guide you through the process. Give us a call today @ 1-800-HELP-444.