Six Reasons Why We Are the Best Sacramento Spousal Support Attorneys
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Sacramento Spousal Support Attorney
While divorce is often a pathway to peace, it can be a rough road to walk down. Often, it takes a toll not only on your emotional and mental well-being, but on your finances as well. And when you’re trying to rebuild your life and find fulfillment again, financial stability is necessary to enable you to do so. This can be especially difficult for those who depended on their spouse for the majority of their marriage, unable to work due to time constraints, childcare, or other circumstances. Perhaps you are finding that your gap in work history, outdated skill set, or lack of training is making it difficult to find a new job. Or maybe illness is preventing you from seeking employment. Whatever the case may be, you have the option to request spousal support in California. Our attorneys will guide you through all the steps on how to get the most out of your alimony request in Sacramento.
Of course, you may be on the other side, having received a request from your spouse for alimony that is impeding on your ability to adequately provide for yourself. Perhaps you wish to lower spousal support payments or stop paying them altogether.
Whatever the case may be, we outline some general information below on the process of requesting alimony or on how to lower alimony payments in Sacramento, California. Please do not take this as legal advice, however, since spousal support greatly depends on your individual circumstances. Rather, call our firm today for a free, personalized legal consultation.
What Is Alimony? What is the Purpose of Spousal Support in California?
Alimony Versus Spousal Support – What’s the Difference?
There isn’t a difference between alimony and spousal support. Alimony is the more outdated term. The term “spousal support” was introduced for clarity more recently. Most everyone will use these terms interchangeably.
The Different Types of Alimony in California
Every type of alimony in California is designed to aid the spouse who lacks the financial means to support him or herself during or after the divorce. However, in order to receive any kind of spousal support, the person requesting the funds must prove that they are necessary. Spousal support does not equate to child support. Since both you and your spouse are adults, it is assumed that you will be able to support yourselves (except in extreme situations, which we discuss more below). Thus, it is imperative to build a strong case for yourself before requesting the support.
Temporary Alimony – Spousal Support Paid During a Divorce
In many households, one spouse works while the other remains at home, leaving the non-working spouse dependent on the other. Thus, filing for divorce will cause the one who remained at home to lose their main source of income. In these circumstances, it is common for the judge to grant temporary spousal support to the unemployed spouse in order to help them finance the divorce and find a stable source of income before the divorce is finalized. For temporary spousal support, there is an alimony calculator the judge will typically use to decide on the amount. We discuss this in more detail further down in this article.
This is probably the most common type of alimony granted in California. Again, it is usually granted to the spouse who did not work during the marriage and thus does not have the financial means to support themselves. However, unlike temporary alimony, rehabilitative alimony extends past the date when the divorce is finalized. How long the alimony is paid depends on the recipient’s individual situation, but we explain many of the common criteria that the judge will use to make their decision further down.
In some circumstances, one spouse is permanently unable to find work due to a mental or physical condition (or some other debilitating circumstance). Thus, permanent alimony was designed for these situations and lasts for the remainder of the recipient’s life (or until a change of circumstances renders the payor unable to continue paying alimony).
If one spouse spent a large sum of money on their husband or wife during the marriage, they can sometimes request reimbursement alimony. A common situation that necessitates reimbursement spousal support is the repayment of college tuition fees.
Temporary, rehabilitative, or reimbursement alimony can also be paid in one large sum instead of in several small payments. Of course, this may be difficult for rehabilitative alimony depending on the length of time that the payor is required to pay spousal support. Likewise, it cannot usually be done for permanent spousal support. However, it is typical that those paying reimbursement alimony will pay it all in one lump-sum if they can afford to do so.
Requesting Alimony in Sacramento, California
If you are going through a divorce, legal separation, or annulment, you may request spousal support. However, if you are still married to your spouse, but are in a situation where you can no longer live with them (such as domestic violence and/or restraining orders), you may also request spousal support in Sacramento. A stated previously, with divorce or separation, you must be able to prove that there is no way you would be able to support yourself or achieve close to the same standard of living that you had during the marriage. Thus, it is important that you consult with an attorney to help you build a strong case before you fill out the paperwork.
Spousal Support Through Mediation – Alimony Agreements in California
You do not always have to go to court to request alimony. Sometimes, it is possible to request it directly from your spouse through mediation. If you choose this route, one of our alimony attorneys will assist you with negotiations. We will advocate fiercely for the amount you deserve and make sure that your rights are respected. Should any conflict arise, we will help calm the situation and appeal to your spouse to make the process go as smoothly and satisfactorily as possible. Then, if you and your spouse are able to agree on an amount, we will help you draft official documentation and sign off on it. Of course, this may not be a viable option for many couples, and thus, we are ready to walk you through the process of going to court to request spousal support.
Forms for Spousal Support in Sacramento, California
First, you must fill out the alimony paperwork that Sacramento county requires of you. These spousal support forms are important, as they will ask you to fill out your income and revenue information, employment history, expenses, and any other pertinent information. Depending on the type of alimony being requested, there may be additional forms you must complete. Ensuring that you correctly fill out the alimony forms is essential to building a strong case in your favor. The slightest errors could greatly delay the process or cause you to receive less than you deserve. Our spousal support attorneys have filled these out countless times and can simplify the process and review your documents for any errors before they are turned into Sacramento courts. Even if you have complicated income or tax information (e.g. you own a personal business or you have several small streams of income), we can help you. We have been working in Sacramento’s courts for years and know exactly what to expect and what the judge will look for when reviewing your paperwork.
How to Prove That You Need Spousal Support
Now we move on to the meat of your case – proving that the spousal support is needed. This can often be the most intimidating part of requesting alimony. You must prove that you enjoyed a certain standard of living during the course of your marriage and that the divorce will render you unable to achieve that same standard of living. In the next few paragraphs, we provide exact alimony criteria that the judge will look at to decide on an amount and schedule of spousal support payments. That criteria will also be the basis on which we build a powerful case that proves that alimony is indeed necessary.
Fighting Spousal Support in California
If you are on the opposite side of the issue and have had alimony requested of you and wish to argue against the spousal support request, you must also prove your case. You have to show that either the spousal support request made by your partner is unjustified or that you cannot afford to make alimony payments. Call us for more information if you are in this situation.
How Alimony is Calculated in Sacramento, California
This is the most common question we receive when it comes to alimony in California – how much spousal support will I owe and how long will I have to pay? As you’ve probably inferred from our discussion on the types of alimony, there isn’t a single answer to this question. It depends entirely on your and your spouse’s circumstances and the judge’s decisions. However, the judge will adhere to basic alimony guidelines outlined by the state of California.
Temporary Spousal Support Calculator
As stated previously in this article, there is a calculator that the judge will use to determine temporary spousal support (support paid during the marriage). Once you fill out the necessary paperwork, the judge will plug in the numbers to the alimony calculator and generate an amount that the payor must give to the recipient during the divorce. These numbers can come from several different sources – child support, salaries, tax information, expenses, etc.
Calculation of Spousal Support in California
For all other types of spousal support, the judge will combine several different factors to reach a conclusion on the amount of spousal support required and how long the spousal support will last. These criteria are outlined in more detail in California’s Family Cod 4320, but the judge can add or detract to this list if he or she deems it necessary.
• Skills and experience of each spouse – their ability to enter the workforce post-divorce and gain a steady income
• Standard of living during marriage
• Ability of payor to make spousal support payments
• Necessary needs of both spouses
• Property of both spouses (community and separate, including income and debts)
• Length of marriage
• Child custody and how work hours would affect that
• Age and health of both spouses
• Domestic violence and abuse
• Tax information
• Benefits and disadvantages of spousal support for both partners
• How long the recipient needs spousal support
• Criminal convictions
Note About Alimony for Short-Term Marriages
Typically, the shorter the marriage, the shorter the alimony payments. Most often, the judge will simply take the length of time you and your spouse were married and cut it in half (eight years married = four years of spousal support). Of course, the judge is not required to follow this alimony formula and can decide on shorter or longer spousal support payments.
Note About Alimony for Long-Term Marriages
Alimony for spouses who were married for a long time can get more complicated. It is difficult to judge what the standard of living was during a long-term marriage, especially those lasting over ten years. Usually the judge only looks at the tail end of your marriage to determine the quality of life you both had. However, there is no law stating that the judge must examine a certain number of years.
How to Increase Spousal Support in Sacramento, California
If the judge has already ordered spousal support payments from your ex-husband or wife, but you feel that the amount being given is not enough, call us today. By showing that a change in circumstances has necessitated more alimony, we can help you increase spousal support payments. This change in circumstances could be an increase in necessary expenses (e.g. medical bills or change in childcare needs). It could also be a drop in income or loss of a job or extended period of unemployment. However, several other criteria could enable an increase of alimony, so contact our firm today to discuss your options.
How to Pay Less Spousal Support in Sacramento, California
Of course, you may not be requesting spousal support. As we discussed briefly a few paragraphs before this, you may have had spousal support requested of you and wish to lower the alimony payments if possible. This can be difficult to achieve since there has to have been a change in circumstances that has made it difficult or impossible to continue making spousal support payments. However, your attorney will have some leeway with what constitutes as a change (increase in expenses? decrease in revenue? change in taxes?), and thus you should call us for a free consultation to discuss your options.
Waiver for Alimony in California
Unfortunately, spousal support waivers are incredibly difficult to come by. You typically must ask your spouse to waive the payments themselves. However, call our firm to discuss your options during your free consultation. In the past, we have found innovative ways to convince your ex-husband or ex-wife to drop the spousal support order in exchange for an alternative arrangement.