How Is Spousal Support (Alimony) Determined? Read These Insights from Primus Family Law Group

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Are you facing the complexities of determining spousal support, also known as, alimony? Negotiating the terms of spousal support can often feel like navigating through a maze, with various factors at play and emotions running high. At Primus Family Law Group in San Diego, we understand the intricate nature of spousal support proceedings and are here to guide you through this challenging process.

Spousal support is designed to ensure that both parties can maintain as close as possible to the marital standard of living post-separation and divorce. Therefore, the Court may order the higher income spouse to pay spousal support to the lower income spouse.  However, it should be noted that the recipient of spousal support has a duty to make all reasonable efforts to become self-supporting, which can be an important factor for requests to modify or terminate one’s obligation for spousal support.

Whether negotiating or litigating spousal support, the issue requires careful consideration of numerous factors unique to each case. Some of those factors are illustrated below:

  • The Disparity in Income: Suppose there is a significant disparity in income between spouses, with one earning substantially more than the other. Spousal support may be awarded to ensure that the lower-earning spouse can maintain a comparable lifestyle to their marital lifestyle post-separation/divorce, taking into account their contributions to the marriage and their ability to become self-supporting. Those contributions to the marriage may include as follows:
    • The Career Sacrifice: Imagine a marriage where one spouse sacrificed their career aspirations to support the other’s professional pursuits. In such cases, the court may deem it necessary to award spousal support to the lesser-earning spouse to compensate for the sacrifice made during the marriage.
    • The Stay-at-Home Parent: Consider a situation where one spouse stayed home to raise children while the other pursued a career outside the home. In these cases, the stay-at-home parent may require financial support post-divorce to transition back into the workforce or to maintain a suitable standard of living while caring for the children.
  • The Length of the Marriage: Short-term marriages (those less than ten years) may warrant temporary spousal support, usually half the length of the marriage, to provide support to the recipient spouse. In contrast, long-term marriages may result in permanent or long-term spousal support arrangements to address the financial needs of the recipient spouse over an extended period.
  • Changing Circumstances: What if the financial circumstances of one or both spouses change after the divorce? In such cases, spousal support orders may be modified to reflect the new reality, whether it’s due to a significant increase or decrease in income, job loss, or other life changes.

At Primus Family Law Group, we recognize that every case is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the spousal support determination. Our experienced attorneys will work closely with you to assess your individual circumstances, advocate for your interests, and help you navigate the complexities of spousal support proceedings with confidence.

Remember, reaching a satisfactory resolution in spousal support negotiations requires careful consideration of numerous factors, including but not limited to each spouse’s financial situation, contributions to the marriage, and future earning potential. If you’re facing spousal support issues or have questions about the spousal support determination process, don’t hesitate to reach out to Primus Family Law Group for a free 30-minute phone consultation. Our team is here to provide you with the expertise you need during this challenging time.