Alimony is a legal construct that attaches to many California divorces. It establishes a system of payments from a person to their former spouse for an established amount of time. Not all divorces result in alimony awards as some divorces end with two financially independent individuals.
However, when a marriage ends and one of the parties may be unable to provide for their own financial needs, alimony may be awarded. This informational post does not provide any legal advice. Readers who have questions about alimony and how it may impact their high-asset divorces can contact local family law attorneys for support and guidance.
When alimony may be awarded
As stated, alimony is not universal. There are divorces where it is not requested or ordered. However, it is often an important point of argument for individuals who will not be immediately self-sufficient when their marriages end.
The decision by a court to award alimony is guided by many considerations. Some of the factors that courts can review when deciding on alimony include but are not limited to:
- The ages and health of the parties
- The ability of the parties to earn incomes or work
- The number of years the parties were married
- The standard of living the parties enjoyed during their marriage
For high-asset earners and their partners, divorce can disrupt the balance of their lifestyles significantly. For parties that work in the home or who are not primary income earners for their families, alimony can be a significant form of support to transition them into their single lives.
The duration of an alimony award
Just as alimony may be of different amounts, it may also last for different lengths of time. In some cases, courts may order permanent alimony if a person is elderly or cannot work. Alimony can be short-term to help a party bridge the gap from married to single, or it can be awarded for specific purposes.
In some cases, courts may award parties alimony in a lump-sum. Often alimony is paid out over years on a monthly schedule. In California, it is possible to have alimony awarded as a single lump-sum payment that represents the entirety of the payor’s obligation.
Ending an alimony award
Many alimony awards end when they are scheduled to terminate by court order. However, certain events can force alimony awards to be ended early. The death of a payee or their remarriage will end alimony awards, and significant changes in the financial situations of the parties may cause changes to be made to existing orders.
When alimony is part of a final divorce decree, it is important that it is fair and workable for a party’s foreseeable future. Getting help with all aspects of a high-asset divorce can help an individual work through their divorce-related concerns and find confidence as they end their marriage.