What Are The Different
Types of Alimony?
There are four types of alimony awarded in California:
- Temporary Support - This is usually awarded to the lower-earning spouse during the divorce process to help that spouse with living expenses during the transition.
- Permanent Support - This may be awarded in a long-term marriage to a spouse who is unable to enter the workforce due to advanced age, illness, or disability. Permanent support is rare but can be awarded under the right circumstances.
- Rehabilitative Support - This is the most common type, typically awarded to a spouse who spent the marriage at home raising children while the other spouse was the primary wage earner. Rehabilitative support is provided for a period during which the spouse can obtain any necessary education or training to be employable and become self-sufficient.
- Reimbursement Support - This may be awarded when one spouse supported the other while that spouse furthered their education. The premise is that the advanced degree would benefit both spouses in the marriage; however, in a divorce, it only benefits the spouse who received the education.
Factors Considered When
Determining Alimony Amounts
The overriding issue in determining alimony is that one spouse needs financial support and the other spouse is able to provide it. If the couple passes this test, the court will review information about the income, assets, expenses, and debts of each spouse to calculate temporary support.
For permanent and rehabilitative support, the court will consider the following factors:
- The earning capacity of each spouse
- The contribution of the supported spouse to the other’s education and licensure
- The ability of a spouse to pay support, considering earning capacity, assets, other income, and standard of living
- The needs of each spouse based on the standard of living while married
- The debts and assets of each spouse, including separate property
- The length of the marriage
- The supported spouse’s ability to be employed without harming care of the couple’s minor children
- The age and health of each spouse
- Any documented history of domestic violence against either spouse or the children
- The tax consequences for each spouse
- The balance of hardships for each spouse
- The supported spouse’s goal to be self-supporting within a reasonable period
- Any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
to Existing Agreement
Either spouse can request a modification to or the complete termination of an existing agreement if there is a significant change in circumstances. This could include things like losing a job, remarriage, or a supported spouse’s lack of progress toward becoming self-sufficient.
Tax Ramifications To Consider
On California income taxes, the supported spouse must declare alimony as income and the paying spouse may deduct payments. Prior to December 31, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) shared this arrangement. After changes to federal law, for divorces finalized after this date, the supported spouse is no longer required to report alimony as income and the paying spouse can no longer deduct payments from their federal income taxes.
Work with an Experienced Spousal Support Attorney in San Jose, CA
The issue of alimony can often be complicated and contentious. It’s important that you have an experienced family law attorney who can advocate for you and your needs. There are lifestyle and income ramifications, as well as tax consequences involved with spousal support that last long after the divorce is finalized. This is not a legal battle you want to tackle on your own.
Countless clients facing the prospect of divorce have relied on The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer to help them navigate issues of alimony and spousal support modifications. If you live in San Jose, Morgan Hill, Fremont, Hayworth, Pleasanton, Alameda County, or Santa Clara County, call our office now to schedule a consultation. We’ll be able to discuss the details of your situation and outline a plan that can help you move forward.