Practice Areas

San Diego Alimony Attorney

Alimony in California

In many marriages in San Diego, one spouse brings more income into the home than the other. One common scenario is when one spouse leaves the workforce to stay home and raise the children, instead of advancing in his or her career. In many situations like this, both partners may be contributing equally to the total well being of the family, but one or the other may be contributing in a way that does not produce actual income. When a divorce occurs, the spouse who has elected to stay home for the family’s benefit will often have sacrificed earning potential and may not be able to live at his or her accustomed level after a divorce. In this and other situations where earning ability is unequal, the court may deem it appropriate to award the less financially capable spouse either temporary or permanent alimony, or spousal support, as it is referred to in California law. If you have any legal questions or concerns regarding alimony, contact us or call at (619) 232-1206 for legal help from an experienced alimony attorney at Boyd Law San Diego.

Why Choose Our Alimony Attorneys for Your Case?

  • Our law firm provides a high level of quality, care and experience in family law matters to each case we represent. Your lawyer will know exactly what your alimony case needs to succeed.
  • We possess extensive resources and legal knowledge on the subject of spousal support in California. Our lawyers have achieved positive resolutions for many clients over the years.
  • Your alimony lawyer in San Diego at Boyd Law will be committed to you as our client. We will take the time to identify and pursue your specific goals for a divorce or legal separation case.

What Is Alimony or Spousal Support?

Alimony – also known as spousal maintenance, spousal support or domestic partner support – is a payment that one spouse may be court-ordered to pay the other after a divorce or legal separation in California. It can also be awarded as part of a domestic violence restraining order case. The point of an alimony award is to enable the recipient to maintain the standard of living that he or she enjoyed during the marriage.

Spousal support is not mandatory, nor is it awarded in every divorce or legal separation case in California. It is reserved for cases where there is a disparity in how much either spouse earns, especially if the lower earner makes less due to sacrifices made for the community during the marriage. If the lesser earner displays financial need and the higher earner would not be financially harmed by making the payment, alimony may be awarded by the courts.

Determining Alimony under California Law

California state law gives the courts a great deal of discretion in determining if an award of alimony is appropriate, and if so, how much and for how long. A couple may agree between themselves on temporary or permanent spousal support. Otherwise, your family law attorney will help you document the various factors that go into the court’s decision on the amount and duration of support; these may include:

  • Whether the earning capacity of each divorcing spouse is enough to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
  • What marketable skills the party applying for support possesses, the current demand for those skills in the marketplace, or the amount of time and the cost of education or job training to develop those skills or to acquire a new set of marketable skills
  • How much the person requesting support gave up in current and future earning capacity as a result of leaving the workforce to perform domestic duties, such as caring for the home and raising children
  • How much the supported spouse contributed to the supporting spouse’s career and earning capability, for example, by providing for the family while the other was attending school to obtain a college degree or professional certification
  • Whether the supporting party is capable of paying alimony, based on earnings, unearned income, assets, and lifestyle
  • The needs of each party, in accordance with the standard of living while married
  • The age and health of each party
  • The assets and obligations of each party, including assets separate from community property
  • How long the couple were married
  • The ability of the supported party with child custody to work outside the home without a significant negative impact on the children
  • Whether there is any documented history of domestic violence
  • The tax consequences to each party
  • How much time will be reasonably needed for the party being supported to become self-supporting

Your interests are best served by having a skilled and experienced spousal support attorney craft arguments that support your interests and present a well-document case to the court.

Do You Have to Be Married a Certain Number of Years to Get Alimony?

No. Contrary to popular belief, there is no minimum number of years that a couple must have been married for one of the parties to be eligible for alimony in California. There is no specific minimum duration before a spouse can request spousal support. The California courts base alimony decisions on a range of other factors – mainly, the marital standard of living and the financial situations of both parties. However, the duration of any alimony that is awarded can be based in part on the length of the couple’s marriage.

Temporary vs. Permanent Alimony  

Temporary and permanent alimony do not refer to the duration of a spousal support order in California. The names are misleading; they refer to the stage of the divorce or legal separation process at which alimony is awarded. Temporary alimony is a court-ordered arrangement that is given while a legal dissolution of marriage is still pending. It is a monthly payment that must be made by one spouse to the other while the family law case is still underway. Permanent alimony or long-term spousal support is ordered at the end of a case, such as in a divorce judgment decree. Despite the name, it will not last permanently except in rare cases.

How Long Does Alimony Last in California?

The length of time or duration of a spousal support award will depend on the circumstances of the unique case. In general, the rule is that alimony will last for half the length of a marriage that lasted less than 10 years. In a marriage that lasted longer than 10 years, the court may not set a specific alimony duration. Instead, the spousal maintenance award will last until the paying party can prove that the financial support is no longer necessary. For instance, if the recipient gets a higher-paying job or remarries.

In some cases, the courts in San Diego will not assign a specific date for alimony payments to end. Instead, the order will last indefinitely while the courts periodically review the arrangement to determine if this type of financial support is still appropriate. Typically, spousal support will only endure as long as the recipient has a financial need. The goal is for the supported party to become financially self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. If the recipient is not taking steps to reach this goal, the courts may end the alimony award early.

Free Legal Consultation

When alimony is a matter of contention in your divorce, having the family law attorneys of the Boyd Law Firm in your corner is the best way to protect your rights and interests. We have a superior record of obtaining sufficient spousal support for our clients that they are able to maintain the lifestyle to which they are accustomed. For a free consultation with one of our highly experienced family law attorneys, contact Boyd Law in San Diego to arrange for a free consultation. Have our team working for you will ensure that no factor is overlooked in presenting your case for a fair support determination. Don’t wait; contact us or call us at (619) 232-1206 today!