When You Cannot Make a Clean Break After Dividing the Marital Property
California is a community property state, which means that each spouse gets 50% of the net value of the marital property in a divorce. If the parties have similar incomes, then dividing the marital property in half puts them on equal footing after the divorce. What if their income, earning potential, and responsibilities are different, though?
Imagine that a couple divorces after ten years of marriage; they have three children together, a 5-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a baby. The husband earns $100,000 per year and works 60 hours per week; the wife earned $40,000 at her most recent job, but she has not worked since the birth of her oldest child. Even if the husband pays child support, the parties will not be on equal footing. The wife’s parenting responsibilities limit the number of hours she can work, even if child support helps offset the cost of daycare, and she may need to retrain before starting a new job. The court will probably order the husband to pay alimony for several years.
Factors Determining the Amount of Alimony
These are several different factors the court considers when deciding how much alimony, if any, one spouse should pay to the other:
- How long the parties were married
- The age and health of each spouse
- Each spouse’s current income and earning potential
- If the disadvantaged spouse spent years out of the workforce, the reason for that absence (caring for children, being a full-time student, simply choosing not to work, etc.)
- Whether there was domestic violence in the marriage
If the court finds that the disadvantaged spouse is capable of working but chooses not to, the court will set the amount of alimony based on the amount that the recipient spouse can earn.
Save Money by Having A People’s Choice Prepare Your Alimony Documents
Hiring a divorce lawyer is expensive, and you do not need one if all you are trying to do is modify the terms of your alimony order. Contact A People’s Choice to have a registered legal document assistant prepare the documents you need to help you modify, collect, or terminate alimony payments. Call us today at 805-648-5540.
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