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Spousal Support (Alimony) for Dummies

Divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmGoing through a divorce is not the most pleasant experience to go through to say the least. You can go through dire emotional, financial and at times physical stress that can take its toll on you in the long run. If going through a divorce wasn’t hard enough, there are a number of things that you need to deal with and understand when as you divorce.

Spousal support, child support, child custody, child visitation etc. are one of the few common aspects of a divorce that you need to understand about alimony, also known as spousal support.

What is alimony?

Alimony is basically the previous name given to the current concept of spousal support. As the name spousal support would indicate, it is a support payment that is paid to the dependent spouse by the sole earning or higher earning spouse after they have had a divorce.

The concept of spousal support or alimony is simple, it is intended to provide financial safeguard to a spouse who was dependent on the other spouse for their finances and divorce has suddenly left them with no financial avenue to depend on. In such situations, the family law court will set a particular amount that would need to be paid by the financial independent spouse to the financially dependent one.

How much alimony will I get?

Alimony is not like child support. Child support has set rules for compensation to be paid, alimony payments on the other hand have no such rules set. In terms of spousal support payments the scope of discretion is wide for the judges to decide the amount. The factors of spousal support and the conditions that the judges will take into account when deciding on the spousal support amount differ from state to state.

In the Orange County family law court, judges will look at a number of factors such as:

  • The number of years the couple has been married
  • The standard of living that the couple was enjoying
  • The financial dependence of one spouse on the other
  • The needs (not wants) of the spouse in terms of finances post divorce

Will I have to pay spousal support if I earn more?

The guidelines of spousal support vary from state to state. Usually if you earn more than the spouse the courts will look at the difference between the two earnings and whether or not their expenses or needs are more than what they earn. The judges will take a look at this before deciding if the higher earning spouse has to pay some sort of alimony and if they do, what is the amount that needs to be paid.

divorce_attorneyGerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce attorney and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.

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