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A Family Law Firm Located in South Orange County

For a family law lawyer call:  949.716.2102

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If you have a crises in your life, chances are, you need a divorce attorney . Whether it is child support , child custody , property division , or spousal support , Trevino Law can help you through. Trevino Law is dedicated to helping individuals through the legal process. If you are facing a family law issue, it is important to contact an attorney even before the petition is filed. 

Spousal Support in California

Permanent Spousal Support in Orange County is Based upon the Marital Standard of Living

Spousal support, often referred to as alimony, is based upon factors enumerated in California Family Code Section 4320 . The code requires an analysis of those factors. An Orange County divorce attorney can scrutinize the factors and argue how those factors apply to a particular circumstance. 

Family Code Section 4320 Factors for Spousal
Support (Formerly Known as Alimony)

In a spousal support request in California, the court will determine the ability of each party to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage.
A family law court also considers the extent to which the party who receives spousal support stayed home to raise the kids rather than  advance his or her career. 

An attorney may argue that the obligations and assets of the parties including their separate assets are relevant for spousal support purposes in a divorce in California. 
In Orange County, the family court will review the skills that the party requesting spousal support has and the time and money it would take for that party to develop his or her skills in order to find a job. 

A California court will also review whether the person receiving support helped the other parent obtain an education, training, or obtain a license in order to advance a career.
If the person paying spousal support does not earn enough money to pay spousal support In Orange County, the court can consider assets and the parties' standard of living during the marriage.
If one party is not working, the divorce court can consider how much money the person is capable of earning and make an order as if that party was earning that amount. 
If there is evidence of domestic violence,  between the parties, then the person who committed the violence may be precluded from receiving spousal support after the divorce.
If the person receiving spousal support possesses skills that are marketeable which could enable the spouse to be self-sufficient, a California divorce court is less likely to order spousal support.
If the party receiving support can get a job without interfering with the interests of the children, then the family law court will be more likely to assume that the party is capable of earning a living.

In a dissolution, spousal support has tax implications. The person receiving spousal support will pay taxes on the amount of support. The person who pays the support will have a reduction in income.
The court will ask whether the person paying spousal support has the ability to pay. If he or she does not have the ability to pay, the court will not order spousal support after a dissolution is entered. The ability to pay is determined at the time of the hearing.
In California, the family law judge considers the age and health of the
parties. If the paying party is in bad
health, it is possible support may not be ordered.

An attorney may argue that the goal of spousal support is for the supported spouse to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time--which is usually half of the length of the marriage.
Another factor the family law court analyzes is whether the person receiving spousal support needs training or education to obtain marketable skills.
The order for spousal support is gender-neutral in Orange County. Either spouse can receive spousal support. 
The family law court may also consider hardships to each party.  It is less likely to order support if there is a hardhip to the paying party. 
Another factor the family law court considers is the length of the parties' marriage.  The longer the marriage, the longer spousal support lasts.
In a request for spousal support in California, the court will review the ability of each party to earn a living.  If the party receving support can support himself or herself, spousal support is less likely. 
Frequently Asked Questions About Spousal Support (Formerly Known as Alimony)

How much spousal support will I receive?

When can I stop paying spousal support?

Will I have to pay my husband spousal support?

Spousal support is derived from many factors. The foundation is the marital standard of living. The reality is that neither party will continue to maintain the starndard of living when two households are support with the same income earned during the marriage.
If there is an end date of spousal support in your judgment, spousal support will end on the date identified in the agreement, the death of either party or when the receiving parent remarries or cohabits with another person. If the marriage is a long term marriage, spousal support by statute is indefinite. However, many judges will terminate it earlier for cause.
The law is gender-neutral. Either party can be required to pay spousal support to the other party. The court disregards gender and will look to the ability of one spouse to pay support and the other party's need for support. 

Will my debts decrease the amount of spousal support that I have to pay?

If I file for divorce immediately, how long will it be before I can receive spousal support?

If I do not pay my spouse, spousal support, what happens?

Debts rarely decrease the need for spousal support. Usually each party is responsible for payment of half the community debts. However, in some circumstances if there are community debts, the payment of those debts may be considered an offset to spousal support.
Temporary spousal support is ordered between the time that the divorce is filed and served until the time of judgment. It is based upon the needs of the receiving spouse and the paying spouse's abililty to pay. It can be based on a guideline formula and its purpose is to maintain the status quo.
An order for spousal support includes an automatic order for statutory interest of ten percent per year. The interest accrues at an astronomical rate and is enforceable. Support orders should be paid when due to avoid interest. 

What is the purpose of spousal support?

What is a Gavron Order in California?

Is Spousal Support Awarded in Domestic Violence Cases?

There is no one stated purpose for spousal support. The court can review spousal support in a broad sense to determine what works for each case.
A Gavron order requires both parties to become self-supporting in a reasonable amount of time. If the court finds that the supported spouse has had the opportunity to become self-sufficient and has not done so, the court can terminate or reduce spousal support.  In many cases, the court finds that a spouse can become self-sufficient in about half the length of the marriage. 
The court may not order spousal support in cases when one spouse has been convicted of attempting to murder the other spouse or soliciting the murder of the other spouse.

Duty of Support During Marriage
Change in Spousal Support

Federal Law and Spousal Support
When spouses live together, they each owe the other a duty to support one another. This duty lasts as long as the spouses live together. Neither spouse can waive the right to support.
Once a family law judge has made an order for spousal support, that order will not be disturbed on appeal unless the moving party can prove to the appellate court that the judge abused his discretion. 
If a spouse signs an "I-864 affidavit" in order to marry a person who is an alien, he or she must support the spouse regardless of what state law dictates. The federal law in this circumstance supercedes state law. Upon divorce even if the alien spouse is not entitle to spousal support under state law, the spouse may be entitled to spousal support under federal law

Vocational Exams for Spousal Support

Vocational Expert

Use of Vocational Expert

Cost of Vocational Exam

A vocational expert is a person who examines an individual and determines what the individual is capable of earning.  The expert must possess expert knowledge and skill. Family Code section 4331(e) provides the specific requirements. 
A vocational expert can be used any time that an individual is unemployed or underemployed. A vocational examiner can determine that someone who is skilled is capable of earning more money than  he or she is currenty earning.
A vocational exam costs around $2,500 to complete. However, there are additional costs such as the fee to have the expert attend court to testify about the report.  The court can order either side to pay and usually reserves jurisdiction to determine final payment at the end of the case. 

Vocational Exam Orders

Effect of Vocational Exam

Must be Based on Evidence

The court can order that either side submit to a vocational exam after a noticed motion. The order for a vocational exam must identify the location and time for the exam as well as the person performing the exam.
Once a vocational exam is completed, the court may consider the expert's testimony as evidence that the individual is capable of earning more money. By law, the court can impute the amount of income to that individual. 
The family law judge must rely on evidence presented in court to determine the amount of income to impute. It can be used in many circumstances including when a spouse retires early. 

Retirement and Spousal Support

Working Spouse Retirement

The retirement age is 65 years old. If a party retires before 65, it is considered early retirement. The court can impute income to an individual who chooses to retire early and reduce his or her income. After the age of 65, a person can retire without the court imputing income to the individual.

Retirement does not mean that spousal support will end. The family law judge will review all of the facts to determine whether a reduction or termination is necessary. In addition, the court may still consider the passive income of the retiring spouse to make an award for spousal support.