Alimony in California

Alimony in California: What Men Need to Know When Facing Divorce

Spousal support, commonly called alimony, can be a confusing and emotionally charged issue for men facing divorce in California. Gaining clarity on factors courts consider when awarding support can help you make sound legal decisions protecting your future. Here we’ll walk through key alimony concepts from the male perspective.

Duration of Alimony Payments

California judges have discretion on duration when ordering alimony. Common lengths include:

  • Short-term support for recipients to return to the workforce is typically 1-5 years for marriages under ten years.
  • Long-term support until the recipient dies or remarries for marriages over ten years
  • Permanent support for lengthy marriages with the less employable recipient

Longer marriages generally equate to longer support terms, all else equal.

Amount of Alimony

Several factors determine the amount of alimony awarded, including:

  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Length of marriage
  • Income and earning capacities of both spouses
  • Education and career sacrifices made during the marriage
  • Ages and health of both parties
  • Tax implications of payments

California is a no-fault state, so martial misconduct does not impact alimony.

Higher-earning spouses commonly pay a share of income differential for defined terms.

Modifying Alimony

Successful requests to modify existing alimony orders require showing the following:

  • A significant change in financial circumstances for either party
  • Terms of the order are no longer workable
  • Retirement, health issues, or other life changes

Modifications require court motions and hearings.

Alimony ends upon the death of either party or recipient’s remarriage.

Paying Alimony

As the paying spouse, stay current on alimony to avoid enforcement actions like:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Seizure of tax refunds
  • Contempt of court charges

If income decreases substantially, promptly pursue modification for reduced payments.

Tax Implications

  • Alimony is tax deductible for paying spouse
  • The recipient must claim payments as taxable income
  • Impacts eligibility for credits and deductions

Consult a tax professional to minimize tax liabilities.

While rarely welcomed, alimony is designed to remedy the unfair economic impacts of divorce. Understanding the principles governing awards empowers men to make informed decisions. With good legal counsel, men can take proactive steps to protect their rights and future financial security.

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