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Who Has to Pay Alimony in a California Divorce?

Ex-spouses must often untwine and divide their entire lives during a divorce. Alimony offers important support for non-earning individuals, but determining the terms often causes resentment.

Who Has to Pay Alimony?

The courts determine alimony based on a set of parameters. Alimony provides one individual with enough support so he or she can maintain the same quality of life for a reasonable period of time. The courts may look at:

  • Each individual’s living needs
  • Individual assets and financial obligations after the divorce
  • The level of support an individual provided during marriage
  • An earner’s ability to pay alimony
  • The amount of time and additional training a supported individual might need to develop marketable skills and start earning a meaningful income
  • The length of the marriage
  • The extent to which alimony might interfere with child support
  • Financial hardship, age, health, tax consequences, and history of violence

The courts may require alimony payments for half the duration of a marriage if it lasted less than 10 years. In some cases, a supporting individual may need to pay over a longer period of time. Alimony battles can cause difficulty regardless of your age and socioeconomic status, and you may face retroactive payments in certain situations. Under California law, family courts determine who must pay alimony and for how long. Furthermore, the court may require alimony payments prior to the finalization of the divorce.

The Difficulties of Calculating Alimony

Many families spend more than they make, which complicates the alimony process. Both individuals may face a high level of financial scrutiny so the courts can make an informed decision. Ultimately, some individuals may never receive their rightful amount of alimony because of an individual’s need to service debt and pay child support.

You can use various online calculators to estimate alimony payments, but those results may misrepresent the situation. An experienced divorce attorney can offer insight regarding your individual situation, what you might owe, or what you might receive. The courts may create a payment schedule that leaves one or both individuals displeased if they do not have all the information.

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may provide some guidance for alimony in divorce cases, but the courts may throw out certain facets of an agreement if they would put one spouse in a position of unfair hardship.
In many cases, you may revisit alimony awards if and when a supported spouse’s circumstances change. If you need help with determining who pays alimony in Pasadena, reach out to the Law Offices of Kearney Baker at 626-768-2945.

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