Divorce Mediation for Alimony/Photo by Pixabay
Alimony (also known as “spousal support”) is often awarded in divorce. Spousal support is support of a spouse – different from child support (support of a child). The larger the disparity in income, the greater the amount is awarded.
Even in cases where both spouses are self-supporting, alimony is still awarded where there is disparity of income.
For example, Kelly Clarkson’s producer ex-husband was awarded temporary support of $200,000 per month ($50,000 in childsupport, and $150,000 in alimony).
@lawyerkelly #alimony #spousalsupport #kellyclarkson #divorceattorney #divorcelawyer #familylaw #familylawtips #ChiliDogYumPlz ♬ Listen To Me Now – nghigiango
Temporary and “Permanent” Spousal Support
“Temporary” and “permanent” refers to which point the support is awarded. (Not the duration of the award)
Temporary spousal support is awarded at the outset of the divorce, and applies until the divorce Judgment is entered.
Permanent support is embodied in the Divorce Judgment. “Permanent support” does not mean “forever support”.
The Purpose of “Temporary” Spousal Support
The purpose of “temporary” alimony is to try to help each spouse maintain the status quo until divorce is finalized.
In Los Angeles County, the courts frequently utilize Dissomaster (child support calculator) to calculate temporary spousal spport. The guideline figure can be up to 40% of the payer’s net monthly income, reduced by one-half of the receiver’s net monthly income. However, if there is also child support, it will be calculated first and it will reduce the amount of temporary spousal support.
In my opinion, guideline temporary spousal support is very high, and rarely “FAIR”.
The Purpose of “Permanent” Spousal Support
“Permanent” alimony is more complex, and is suppose to follow the law, California Family Code � 4320. Circumstances considered_
Judges are required to weigh 14 factors when deciding how much to award.
These include the length of the marriage, the incomes of the spouses and the aim that the supported spouse will become self-supporting in a reasonable period of time.
How Long Do I Have to Pay Alimony?
For marriages less than ten years in duration, judges normally don’t order alimony for more than half the length of the marriage. In general, it is hard to predict the amount of a judge’s award of permanent spousal support.
Alimony and Tax
Spousal support is no longer taxable or tax-deductible on federal tax returns. (As of the writing of this blog, California state still allows it though).
Mediating The Issue of Spousal Support
Because the issue of spousal support is so vague, and it costs, in my opinion, it is the issue most worthy of mediating.
Rather than spend money hiring a vocational evaluator, or attorneys, it’s wise to work together and find a creative solution.
You may explore lump sum or buy out. Or craft a solution such as step-down payments so the supported spouse is given time to find employment.
Are there remaining student loan, auto loan, and other debts? Children’s expenses? There are many, many solutions .
If you both can reach an agreement, the Courts will not question it.
Divorce mediation is always the better option over litigation.