Santa Ana Alimony Lawyers
If you’ve decided that your marriage has come to an end, there are multiple issues you and your spouse must agree upon before the process is finalized. Child support, marital property division, and division of assets are just a few key issues that must be negotiated throughout the divorce process. Alimony, or spousal support, is another significant term of divorce that can become a point of contention for some couples.
Whether you are seeking alimony or being asked to pay, hiring an alimony attorney is the best way to enter into negotiation and get an alimony agreement that is just and fair. At Sarieh Law Offices, ALC, our team has years of experience in all areas of divorce, including alimony negotiations. If you are going through a divorce or simply need some questions answered, call our law firm today at 714-694-7723 for more information.
What is Alimony?
Alimony, also called spousal maintenance, is a payment made from one spouse to another. The purpose of alimony is to ensure that neither spouse experiences a decline in their quality of life after the divorce. Alimony is very common in cases where spouses have been married for a long time or there is a significant income discrepancy between two spouses.
Generally, two types of alimony may be awarded:
Temporary maintenance is the more common type of alimony. In temporary spousal support, the payments are sent temporarily with the understanding that one spouse needs time to adjust to their new lifestyle. Temporary alimony is often used to fund higher education or training that will help that spouse become self-supporting. Temporary alimony is also called rehabilitative alimony.
Although it is less common, permanent spousal maintenance can also be awarded. Permanent support is often given when the income disparity between two spouses is long-term or permanent. Permanent alimony may be awarded in cases where one spouse cannot work due to a disability or chronic illness.
How is Alimony Negotiated?
Alimony can be negotiated by the couple when the marriage is dissolved. If both parties can agree on the amount of alimony and the timeline of the payments, it can typically be entered into the divorce agreement. Either person in the marriage can receive alimony, regardless of gender. In most cases, alimony is decided based on income and quality of life changes that may happen after the divorce.
If a couple cannot decide on the terms of alimony on their own, then a court order may be necessary. During an alimony case, each party will have the opportunity to present their side and negotiate the terms of the alimony payment. A judge will decide upon the terms of the alimony, issuing who is to pay, how much is paid, and how often it is paid.
If alimony is court-ordered, then it may be awarded by income withholding. Income withholding is the process of collecting alimony payments straight from a person’s paycheck. This ensures that the payments are made on time and in the correct amount.
How is Alimony Calculated?
The calculation for alimony varies from state to state. Alimony payments can be agreed upon by the couple themselves through negotiations. If the couple cannot agree on the amount of alimony paid, then a judge will review both spouses’ incomes and cost of living before determining a payment amount in the divorce agreement.
Typically, a judge will review the following factors when calculating alimony:
- The length of the marriage
- The income and earning capacity of each spouse
- The standard of living during the marriage
- The contributions each spouse made to the other’s career
- The age and health of each spouse
- The ability of each spouse to be self-supporting
- The division of marital property
If there is any prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place, those alimony terms will be put into place instead.
How is Alimony Enforced?
If you and your former spouse have a formal alimony agreement, the court can enforce alimony payments. This means that if an ex-spouse fails to fulfill their duties, the court may penalize them.
In most cases, the court will take the following actions to enforce alimony:
- Contempt of court. If a spouse fails to pay their required alimony payments, a judge may find them in contempt of court. This means that the individual will be forced to pay their missed payments and may also have to pay a penalty fee. If your ex-husband or ex-wife still refuses to pay, they may receive more fines or even jail time.
- Income withholding. If an individual is not paying alimony, the court may withhold their payments directly from their income. This ensures that the other spouse does not have to deal with their former partner directly and instead receives automatic payments.
- Writ of execution. This court order allows the court to seize an individual’s property to pay their debt. If an individual has not paid their alimony, the court may take their property, bank accounts, or other assets.
How Can a Santa Ana Alimony Lawyer Help Me?
Entering into an alimony agreement with your former spouse is essential to the divorce process. A maintenance award can significantly impact your life, whether you are the spouse paying or receiving payment. Hiring a spousal support attorney secures your spousal support payment agreement and ensures that it is just and fair for both parties.
If you are going through a divorce, contact Sarieh Law Offices, ALC today. A family law attorney on our team will review your case and advise you on negotiating alimony with your spouse. Call 714-694-7723 for a free consultation.