Divorce is a heavy weight to carry, but some divorce settlements that include alimony payments could leave you feeling the weight for years to come. Alimony is not always guaranteed, but avoiding those payments is certainly something many wish to avoid. There is no set formula to help you avoid it, but understanding the circumstances of your divorce, how the law determines alimony, and common ways to lawfully avoid paying it can help you make educated decisions that will help protect your finances. The best step to take is to enlist the help of a divorce attorney in Anaheim, CA.
Alimony, commonly known as spousal support, refers to payments that one spouse makes to the other during divorce proceedings or, after entry of judgement, whether by divorce settlement or trial. For some couples, one spouse may make significantly more money than the other which provides a certain standard of living during the marriage. Alimony seeks to provide support for the lesser-earning spouse until they become self-sufficient. While not mandatory, situations such as these make it common.
Other factors that could determine if a spouse receives alimony and/or affects the amount of support they receive include the following:
A spouse’s physical or emotional condition. If there are health factors such as mental, emotional, or physical deficiencies that limit a spouse’s ability to work or their earning potential and they make disproportionately less money, then they may be more likely to receive alimony.
Knowing these circumstances can help you during the litigation process by building your case around the facts that would potentially speak to each of these scenarios.
If you are legally ordered to make alimony payments, you can’t fail to pay them as a means of avoidance. However, there are steps that you can take to lawfully avoid these payments before they’re ordered or minimize the amount that you will need to pay. Some common strategies include:
California law allows alimony to be waived if it is established prior to the marriage. This is often done through a prenuptial agreement. At the time of the agreement, however, both spouses must be represented by an attorney, and both must be of sound mind at the time it is signed. There are various other requirements that need to be met. If you are considering a pre-nuptial agreement you need to hire an experienced attorney to draft the agreement and ensure that all the requirements are met.
Without a prenuptial agreement, the court must consider very specific factors to determine whether it will award alimony and for long and how much. Those circumstances may include proving your spouse cohabitating with another adult, demonstrating that your spouse has a high earning potential, proving a history of domestic violence, showing that you lack the ability to pay, presenting that your spouse does not need the support or establishing that the length of marriage negates the need for the payments. Working with an attorney can help you to build the right strategy.
Modifications or cancellations of spousal support are only made through court orders. To successfully modify alimony payments, there needs to be proof that there are significant changes to financial or living circumstances that have arisen since the original order was put into place. Petitioning the court will begin the process and be finalized with a new court order.
Alimony is not mandatory in California and is used as a way to provide assistance to one spouse from another. It may be awarded permanently or temporarily depending on the length of the marriage and the difference in income or earning potential. Unless agreed upon by you and your spouse prior to the divorce ending, it is only required if issued through a court order.
If you are facing a divorce, you may have many questions. At Moranda Law Firm APC, our family law attorneys can help provide you with the answers you need. Whether you need help with avoiding alimony, changing an alimony structure, or you need help with any area of the divorce process, contact our offices and let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you.