Fear and uncertainty set in when the divorce process starts, especially when it comes to maintaining one’s finances. Charles M. Green, a Certified Specialist in Family Law with an extensive financial background in accountancy assists clients in the analysis and review that goes into the proper calculation of Spousal Support. Mr. Green will not hesitate to bring to trial issues necessary in determining temporary and permanent spousal support if the goals of our clients are not meet in a voluntary settlement process first.
Similar to child support, temporary spousal support is based on a statutory formula. Its purpose is to maintain the financial status quo during the period of time between the initial separation of the parties and the final division of property. Each party’s income, health care and child care costs are considered to determine the amount of the temporary spousal support.
Permanent spousal support does not follow a detailed financial formula. The final amount is based on various factors such as the ability of the spouse to pay spousal support, the age and health of the recipient of support, and any special needs that have been identified. Spouses who put their career on hold to raise children may be entitled to compensation depending on the amount of time they were out of the workforce.
Our focus is on obtaining fair and equitable results if not by Voluntary Settlement than by aggressive and experienced litigation. Only after competent analysis of the parties tax returns and financial statements can you recognize the financial position of a divorcing spouse. Temporary spousal support bridges the gap and reduces the anxiety of an already stressful situation. Permanent support can provide an opportunity for a spouse to return to school towards resuming their career or starting a new one.
Typically, disputes over temporary spousal support result from the amounts entered into the statutory formula. Because no strict financial formula exists for permanent spousal support and because the duration of the support is not predetermined, permanent spousal support disputes often arise between a divorcing couple. Attorney Charles M. Green, attempts to resolve these issues through informed negotiation providing clients with some control over the process. However, when necessary he will litigate if that becomes the best or only option to protect his client’s interests.
Alimony, which is also referred to as “spousal support” in California, is payment from one spouse (“payor spouse”) to another (“supported spouse” or “payee 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 before any payments are made, so there can be no dispute that the money changing hands is alimony.
In California, spouses can request temporary alimony, permanent alimony, or both.
Spousal support in Los Angeles is often awarded at an Order to Show Cause on a temporary basis, where one spouse is unemployed or earning significantly less than the other spouse. The Superior Courts of Orange and Los Angeles Counties have adopted a spousal support guideline for use in setting temporary spousal support. This guideline requires that the husband’s spousal support is 40% of his net monthly income, reduced by one-half of the wife’s net monthly income.
Where child support is being paid, the guideline level of child support is first calculated. Then, spousal support is determined.
At the Order to Show Cause hearing, the judge is not concerned about the employability of the wife. Instead, at this stage, the judge merely wants to preserve the status quo and provide the wife with sufficient income for her basic needs, consistent with the parties’ lifestyle.
At the trial of the dissolution, the California Family Code provides the judge with a long list of factors that are to be considered in determining the amount and duration of spousal support.
This list includes such factors as the length of the marriage, the parties’ prior living standard, the extent to which the supported spouse contributed to the:
In general, where the marriage has lasted more than 10 years, the court will, at the very least reserve jurisdiction. This means that, even if there is no current order for spousal support, the spouse will be permitted to come back to court at a later date to request spousal support should the need arise.
The Internal Revenue Code provides that all spousal support payments are tax deductible by the paying spouse and taxable to the recipient spouse as ordinary income. For this reason, it is not uncommon for a negotiated settlement to include the payment of a high amount of spousal support, because such a payment results in a tax benefit to the husband.