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Is spousal support really necessary following divorce?

In a perfect world, each marriage is as strong as a rock. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world, so it is not uncommon for a marriage to end up being on the rocks. When this happens, one of the biggest areas of contention that two spouses may face is spousal support.

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is money that the court orders one spouse to pay the other one for a particular amount of time following their divorce. A few facts about alimony are important to take into consideration during a divorce proceeding in California.

Why is alimony necessary?

Alimony serves the purpose of limiting the unfair effects of divorce on one spouse versus the other spouse from an economic standpoint. With alimony, the spouse who did not earn money or who earned less money will continue to receive income from the other party after the divorce.

Alimony exists because one of the spouses might have decided to bypass a career to stay home and take care of the family. The alimony this spouse receives essentially buys him or her time to develop the job skills required to support himself or herself. Spousal support can also be helpful for ensuring that the spouse who earned less or stayed home can maintain the same standard of living he or she enjoyed prior to the divorce.

How will a judge determine alimony?

Spousal support payments are determined based on several factors. These factors include the following:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • How healthy the spouses are
  • How old the spouses are
  • Each spouse's earning capacity
  • Child support matters

How long will alimony have to be paid?

Spousal support is usually considered rehabilitative, meaning it must be paid for as long as the court considers it to be necessary while the spouse receiving it strives to become self-sufficient.

When the divorce decree specifies no particular alimony termination date, the payments have to continue until the court determines otherwise. However, the majority of these awards will stop if the spouse receiving it ends up remarrying. Whether you are on the spousal support paying or receiving end in California, you have the right to pursue an amount that is fair and reasonable, considering the circumstances surrounding your divorce case.

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