Spousal support, often referred to as “alimony,” is the money one spouse pays to another spouse for their maintenance and support after separation. There are two types of spousal support – temporary and permanent. Temporary spousal support is awarded to one spouse on a short-term basis while the divorce proceeding is ongoing. Permanent spousal support is an order made at the conclusion of the divorce action and is designed to provide one spouse long-term, and in some cases, life-long spousal support.
In the state of California, same-sex partners in a divorce are eligible to request spousal support. Recently, federal marriage laws were changed to give same-sex couples the same protection as opposite-sex couples. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced spousal support attorney who understands these laws and can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
California Law and Same-Sex Spousal Support
Same-sex marriage is legal in the state of California. Same-sex couples are entitled to the same protections that opposite-sex couples have in marriage and divorce. In marriage, couples are eligible for visitation rights, employment benefits and tax deductions, just to name a few. In divorce, partners are eligible to request spousal support, child support and a fair distribution of assets.
Federal Law and Same-Sex Spousal Support
Same-sex marriage is recognized by the federal government. In February 2014, United States Attorney General Eric Holder instructed the Justice Department to give lawful same-sex marriages full and equal recognition as opposite-sex marriages to the greatest extent possible under federal law1.
Included in Attorney General Holder’s instructions was the issuance of federal spousal support tax deductions. Until recently, federal spousal support payments were not tax deductible for same-sex couples when same-sex marriages were recognized under California law but not federal law.
How is Spousal Support Determined?
Under California Family Code Section 43202, the courts consider several factors when deciding whether to grant spousal support and how much to grant, including:
• Whether each partner or spouse can sustain the same standard of living established during the marriage
• Contributions to the other party’s education, training, career position or license
• The supporting party’s ability to pay
• The needs of each party in light of the marriage’s standard of living
• The parties’ assets and debts
• The length of the marriage
• The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without interfering with the interests of the children in that party’s custody
• The age and health of each party
• Any history of domestic violence between the parties
• The tax consequences of spousal support to each party
• The balance of hardships to each party
• The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one is involved in a spousal support dispute, it is critical that you speak to an experienced family law attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in handling all types of spousal support cases in Southern California. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California family law attorney near you no matter where you are located.
Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.
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