Did you make the choice to stay home with your children? Are there certain factors unique to your situation that leaves you unable to work? Do you have a job that earns significantly less than what your spouse earns? If you answered yes, then you probably have serious concerns about what your divorce will mean for your financial future.
One form of help available to you may come from alimony payments, also called spousal support. The intent of these payments is to offset the economic inequity that a lesser-earning spouse can experience in a divorce. If you think you could be eligible for these types of payments, you will want to fight for a fair amount. Pursuing reasonable terms in a spousal support order is a significant step in protecting your future interests.
How much will you get?
The courts have a significant amount of leeway in determining whether a person should get spousal support and how much he or she should get. In cases where the matter of spousal support comes before the court, it will look at the following factors when determining payments and their specific amount:
- How long the marriage lasted
- The lifestyle enjoyed by both spouses during the marriage
- Whether or not you can reasonably be expected to earn more income
- How long it would take for you to reenter the workforce
- Whether you would need additional education to work
- Your emotional and physical ability to support yourself
- Whether your spouse can support you and himself or herself
In some cases, courts may grant temporary spousal support. This means you will get these payments for a limited amount of time, typically for what the court decides is long enough for you to find employment, go to school, secure additional income and become self-sufficient. Depending on the individual circumstances, a court may decide that permanent alimony is reasonable.
Fighting for your best future
A court doesn't necessarily have to be the deciding factor in whether you get spousal support payments. You and your spouse have the right to discuss and negotiate this issue out of court, perhaps coming to a reasonable settlement that is satisfactory to both parties.
Whether you plan to resolve your matters in court or around the negotiating table, you will find it beneficial to discuss your concerns with an experienced California family law attorney who can help you protect your interests. Before you agree to any terms or head to court, it will be helpful to be aware of your rights and seek an assessment of your case.