Orange County Divorce Attorney, Peter H. Wernicke
California Orange County Divorce Lawyer, Attorney at Law  
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Spousal Support

Peter H. Wernicke, Orange County Spousal Support Attorney
Spousal support is intended to help one regain independence.

Spousal support, also known as "alimony," is a court order for one spouse to make support payments to the other spouse after they have separated.  Years ago, a husband making alimony payments was the only way for a wife to support herself after a divorce; these payments were often permanent. 

Today spousal support is no longer gender-biased.  It is now determined by a number of factors meant to help the supported spouse regain financial independence.  In addition, spousal support is usually no longer permanent.   Today it is structured to last a reasonable amount of time for rehabilitation; a good rule of thumb is half of the length of time you were married for marriages that lasted less than 10 years; for marriage of 10 years or greater usually result in a longer support order. Support payments will usually stop if the supported spouse begins to share expenses with a new partner or lives in an amorous relationship with a person of the opposite sex. The Courts do not take acts of infidelity into consideration when establishing support payments.  Instead, the Courts base their decision on a number of factors listed below:

Which spouse will be the primary custodian of any children from the marriage, the parental care required for the children, and whether or not the parental care will affect the custodian’s employment opportunities.
Each spouse’s financial needs versus their earning capability.
Each spouse’s education and work experience.
Standard of living each spouse has become accustomed to.
The fair market value of the property each spouse has received from the division of community property.
Length of your marriage.
Health issues related to each spouse.
Taxes and the financial impact the divorce will have.
A spouse who was criminally convicted of being abusive.
Any other factors the Court determines to be relevant.

Adjusting Spousal Support Payments

It is possible for support payments to be adjusted after a couple’s divorce decree has been formalized. In order for the Courts to make such an adjustment, a good reason must be provided.  Below is a list of what the Courts generally consider good and bad reasons:

Good Reasons Bad Reasons
Payer asks to decrease payments because of losing a job. Payee asks to increase payments because the Payer received a raise.
One spouse asks to adjust payments because he/she was in a serious accident. Payer asks to increase payments because the Payer has received an inheritance or gambling winnings.
Both spouses agree to an adjustment.    

Adjustments can be made temporarily to compensate for a change in circumstance.  Normal payments will resume once the change in circumstance has ended.


Table of Contents
Section 0) Overview: Handling a Divorce Section 5) Spousal Support  
Section 1) What You Should Know First Section 6) Child Custody  
Section 2) Starting Your Divorce Section 7) Child Support  
Section 3) Domestic Violence Section 8) Updating Your Will  
Section 4) Division of Property Section 9) Make An Appointment  

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Still have questions? Call: (714) 558-8841