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How To Navigate the Alimony Process

Proving or disproving the need for alimony is often a complicated process. In most cases, the court will consider a huge number of factors when deciding whether to order alimony at allWhether you are requesting alimony in a divorce or arguing against it, the attorneys at Shore, McKinley, Conger & Jolley, LLP in Stockton, CA, will work hard to find a favorable resolution for you. 

Understanding Alimony

More formally known as spousal support, alimony is money paid by one spouse to support the other after the marriage. In most instances, it is awarded only for a set length of time after the divorce under very specific circumstances. In certain cases, one party can request temporary spousal support to be paid while the divorce is still pending. 

Close-up on a pair of hands filling out a check
Although alimony or spousal support can help a spouse adjust to their post-divorce living situation, it can often complicate divorce proceedings. 

Determining Alimony

In order to qualify for any type of spousal support, the spouse in question must demonstrate that they do not have enough property or income to meet minimum reasonable needs, even after the division of marital debts and assets. They must also prove at least one of the following:

  • The marriage lasted at least ten years and they tried to earn enough income or acquire the skills necessary to meet their needs.
  • The other spouse committed family violence.
  • They have an incapacitating disability and cannot earn enough income.
  • They cannot earn sufficient income due to caring for a child of the marriage who has a physical or mental disability.

Once the court has decided to award alimony, there are many considerations that play into the specific amount. Possible factors include the financial resources and earning potential of each spouse, the length of the marriage, child support, and whether or not one spouses acted as homemaker during the marriage. 

Limitations on Alimony

Alimony is not a limitless resource, however. There may be time limitations on the award: for cases that do not involve a disabled spouse or child and in which the marriage lasted less than ten years, support will typically last less than half the length of the marriage. Alimony also ends if the paying spouse dies or if the receiving spouse remarries or lives with a significant other on a continuing basis.

Without the help of a qualified professional, alimony can further complicate the already complex process of divorce.

Additionally, the paying spouse can return to court later to ask for a reduction or termination of alimony due to a substantial change in their ability to pay or the receiving spouse’s ability to pay monthly expenses. For instance, if the paying spouse loses a high-paying job or if the receiving spouse gets their degree, the court may order a change in alimony.

Questions to Consider

Although spousal support can make a significant difference in how well you can support yourself in the wake of a divorce, it is often a point of contention. Consequently, if you are thinking of asking the court for alimony or if you are considering contesting a request for alimony, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons of the situation. You should weigh you and your spouse's assets and debts against the potential cost in terms of money, stress, and strain on your relationship with your spouse.

Make a Strong Case

Without the help of a qualified professional, alimony can further complicate the already complex process of divorce. Reach out online or call our office at (209) 800-8979 to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.