Calculating Alimony in California
If you earn less than your spouse and have fewer financial resources, you may be entitled to alimony following your divorce. But how much alimony are you entitled to receive? There are circumstances that the courts consider when determining the amount of alimony an individual is eligible to receive. Here are a few of the considerations that go into determining if and how much alimony will be awarded.
How Much Money Was Saved by a Spouse Not Working?
Often many couples opt to have one of the spouses stay home in order to save money on things like housekeeping and childcare. In order to calculate a fair spousal support amount, a court may look at what the fair market value of this work would have been for the period of time in question. Additionally, the court may look at what work the at-home spouse put into the higher-paid spouse’s career, particularly if the higher-paid spouse owns a business or is self-employed.
How Will Your Standard of Living Change?
The court will also try to keep one spouse from having to take a huge decrease in his or her standard of living. Over the course of a marriage, both spouses get used to a certain level of luxury or convenience, and the court prefers that a disparity between the two ex-spouses’ standards of living does not develop after the divorce. Similarly, a court may factor in the needs of one spouse in deciding the correct amount for spousal maintenance.
How Much Money Did You Forgo?
The court may also look at how much money you passed up due to the marriage, whether it was because you quit a job to raise children or support your spouse while he or she went back to school to advance his or her career. You may also have contributed money that you earned before the start of the marriage toward tuition for your spouse. The court will most likely look at what level in your career you stopped working, but they may also consider how far you would have advanced in your career if you had not made sacrifices for your spouse and your family.
Many spouses may find a fair divorce agreement that does not include alimony. Alimony can be difficult because the payments are spread out over a number of years, so it is harder to get immediate closure following a divorce. Additionally, the receipt of alimony depends on the continued future income of one of the spouses. Tax consequences should also be considered since the alimony recipient has to report the payments as income on his or her tax return while the payor is allowed to deduct them. Instead of receiving alimony, there may be other options for how to receive compensation for your contributions during the marriage.
Have Additional Questions?
Regardless of whether or not you are entitled to alimony, there are many issues to consider in a divorce proceeding. Contact the Law Office of Renkin & Associates today to discuss your options. We are prepared to fight to protect what is yours.