Spousal Support Attorney in Sacramento, California
Marital dissolutions usually have immediate and long-term financial implications for the parties involved. Whether it is a divorce or legal separation, the California court may request one spouse to provide financial assistance to the other party to ensure their financial well-being. If you are contemplating a divorce and want to know your rights and options regarding alimony or spousal support, consulting with a knowledgeable California family law attorney is imperative for proper guidance.
At The Law Office of Richard M. Abdallah, I'm dedicated to offering effective legal counsel and skilled advocacy to individuals and families in divorce and spousal support matters. I'm available to discuss your unique circumstances and enlighten you about your rights and eligibility to receive or pay alimony. I will educate you about your legal options regarding spousal support, determine a fair amount of support, and help you navigate crucial decisions in your familial matters.
My firm—The Law Office of Richard M. Abdallah—proudly serves clients throughout Sacramento, California, and surrounding areas of Eldorado County, Placer County, Solano County, San Joaquin County, Alameda County, and Yolo County.
Overview of Spousal Support in California
Alimony (also known as spousal support) is a court-ordered financial provision by one spouse to their estranged partner during or for a period after the divorce. In California, spousal support payments are usually awarded to eliminate any unjust economic consequences of the divorce on the financially dependent spouse.
The California courts may request the higher-earning spouse to make regular, periodic, or lump-sum payments to the lower-earning or unemployed spouse. The spouse who receives the support payment is known as the "payee spouse" or "supported spouse,” whereas the spouse who makes the payment is referred to as the "payor spouse."
Types of Alimony in California
Under California law, the court may award any of the following types of spousal support:
Temporary alimony is a financial provision from the payor spouse to assist the unemployed or lower-earning spouse with daily expenses and attorney fees during the divorce process. Once the divorce is finalized, temporary alimony will terminate.
If one spouse needs time to learn a skill or earn a degree, California courts may award rehabilitative alimony. The payor spouse will continue making the predetermined payments until the supported spouse acquires a job skill, completes a college degree, or secures a job.
If one spouse funded the skill acquisition, job training, or education of the other party, reimbursement alimony may be awarded. This will help recompense one spouse for the other party's expenses through alimony payments.
Permanent alimony or "long-term support" is a financial provision from the higher-earning spouse to the financially dependent spouse to help them maintain the "marital standard of living"—or something similar—after the marital dissolution.
Keep in mind that permanent alimony is only awarded in rare cases, such as decade-long marriages in which one spouse cannot become self-supporting due to old age, disability, or a critical illness.
Lastly, if the supported spouse receives a lesser amount of community property, the California court may order lump-sum alimony in lieu of a property settlement. This requires the payor spouse to pay the other party for their share of the assets through support (lump-sum) payments.
An experienced attorney can help evaluate your unique situation and help determine whether you are eligible to pay or receive spousal support.
Who Is Entitled to Spousal Support?
Alimony isn't ordered in every California divorce. Either spouse may request financial assistance in the divorce, irrespective of gender. However, the California court will only award alimony if:
The requesting spouse can show a need for financial support, and
The other spouse has the ability and resources to pay support.
A knowledgeable California divorce attorney can help decide if you're entitled to alimony and educate you about how the type, amount, and duration of spousal support are determined.
Factors Considered When Determining the Type, Amount, and Duration of Alimony
To determine the type, amount, and duration of spousal support, the California court may consider the following factors:
The length of the marriage
The age, mental health, and physical condition of the spouses
The paying spouse's assets, earning capacity, and standard of living
The financial needs of both spouses, based on their marital standard of living
The assets and debts of both spouses' including separate property
The expense and time needed for the recipient spouse to complete their job training, education, or acquire a skill
The marketable skills of the supported spouse
The paying spouse's ability to pay the support amount
The extent to which the supported spouse contributed to the completion of the education, job training, career, or license of the paying spouse
Every divorce case is unique. A trusted California spousal support attorney can assess your situation and work meticulously with both parties to address any alimony issues amicably.
Modifications to Existing Agreements
Provided that there are no clauses indicating that alimony cannot be modified or revoked, either spouse can file a motion requesting changes to the existing alimony agreement. Under California law, a spousal support decree may be changed if:
Both spouses agree to adjust the duration or amount of the alimony
One spouse files a post-judgment motion seeking changes to the alimony agreement. The spouse seeking the modification must establish that there has been "a material change of circumstance" since the existing order was made.
An involuntary loss of a job, a decrease in income, or a new marriage are a few reasons to consider an alimony modification. A lawyer can fight vigorously to help protect your legal rights and guide you through the spousal support modification process.
How Legal Counsel Can Help
During a legal separation or divorce, issues of alimony usually arise and must be properly addressed. Essentially, the California court may award spousal support to help mitigate any unfair economic repercussions of the marital dissolution on the financially dependent spouse. An experienced family law attorney can assess your personal situation and offer you the detailed guidance you need to establish or change a spousal support agreement.
At The Law Office of Richard M. Abdallah, I have the diligence, expertise, and resources to advise and guide clients through the complexities of divorce and spousal support. Whether you are trying to establish or modify an existing alimony arrangement, I will guide you through the legal processes involved and help you make intelligent decisions. Above all, I will fight for your best interests and make sure you come out of the marriage in a financially stable position.
Spousal Support Attorney Serving Sacramento, CA
If you need reliable guidance to establish or modify a spousal support agreement, contact my firm—The Law Office of Richard M. Abdallah—to schedule a simple consultation. I can offer you the personalized legal counsel and advocacy you need to make intelligent decisions in your divorce. My firm is proud to serve clients across Sacramento, Eldorado County, Placer County, Alameda County, and the rest of California.