Spousal Support

9 Questions

9 Questions Regarding Spousal Support

Your life circumstances are unique. And for personal answers that address your unique spousal support circumstances, contact my office and make an appointment. 

Please keep in mind circumstances vary, and the questions and answers below are meant to be a general response to general questions.  

1. What Is Spousal Support/Alimony?

Spousal support, which is also referred to as Alimony in California is a payment from one spouse (payor spouse) to another (supported spouse) after they separate with plans to divorce.

A written agreement or order that requires the payor spouse to make payments to support the other spouse should be filed with the court, so there can be no dispute that the money-changing-hands is spousal support.

In California, spouses can request temporary spousal or permanent spousal or both.   

2. What Is Temporary Spousal Support?

Temporary spousal support is a regular payment made from the spouse who earns more money to the one who earns less.

It is referred to as temporary because its meant to provide some financial support to the lower-earning spouse during the divorce proceeding, and it ends once a permanent spousal support award is in place.   

3. What Is Permanent Spousal Support? 

Permanent spousal support sometimes referred to as long-term support is a regular support payment from the payor spouse to the supported spouse.

Unlike temporary alimony, which is paid to help the supported spouse meet expenses during the divorce, permanent alimony is granted to place the supported spouse at or near the marital standard of living established during the marriage.  

4. How Is Spousal Support Calculated?

Unlike child support, there is no clear-cut guideline for determining the amount of spousal support.

Generally, factors considered include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Income and earning capacity of each spouse
  • Children
  • The standard of living during the marriage

5. Can I Modify or Terminate Spousal Support?

If you get sick or lose your job? Did you or your ex-spouse remarry?

If a significant change in circumstances impacts your ability to pay, then you may be able to ask the court to reduce the amount of spousal support you must pay.

6. When Do I Do It My Ex-Spouse Won’t Pay Support?

Getting a support order is hard enough, but getting the ex-spouse to pay is a whole other ball game.

If your ex-spouse refuses to pay support, you may have to consider mediation or returning to court for a contempt hearing or wage garnishment order.  

7. How Long Does Spousal Support Last?

Spousal support can last for the recipients lifetime, a few years, or just a few months.

The length of the support may be extended or shortened depending on the receiving spouse’s need, ability to work and become self-support, remarriage, and death.  

8. Is the Computer Program the Final Word on Temporary Spousal Support in California?

No. The computer program to which we refer is not the be-all and end-all.

The court has discretion to depart from the program in situations where a requesting spouse’s need is higher, or the payor spouse’s ability to pay is materially less or more than what the computer program calculations. 

9. Is Spousal Support Tax Deductible?

You’ve probably heard spousal support is tax deductible to the paying spouse and counted as taxable income for the recipient spouse.

However, as of January 1, 2019, that’s all going to change. On January 1st, alimony will no longer be tax deductible for the paying spouse. Also, the recipient spouse will no longer be taxed on it. 

Under the existing federal tax law, “Amounts paid to a spouse or a former spouse under a divorce or separation instrument (including a divorce decree, a separate maintenance decree, or a written separation agreement) may be alimony for federal tax purposes. Alimony is deductible by the payor spouse, and the recipient spouse must include it in income,” according to the Internal Revenue Service. 

The new law, which takes effect January 1, 2019, will not impact anyone who signs a divorce agreement before December 31, 2018

An Offer From Our Law Office

Mention this article from our office, and we will calculate a spousal support figure for you.  

To receive your calculation, please email us the following information. 

  1. The wife’s monthly gross income.
  2. The Husband’s monthly gross income. 
  3. Any additional income received by either party.
  4. The length of the marriage. 

There are additional factors that could change the calculated amount. However, with this information, we can give you a basic amount of expected spousal support.  

Once you send this information, we will e-mail you the calculation within 48 hours.