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How is the amount of alimony determined?

People going through a divorce in California could potentially benefit from learning more about how the amount of alimony is calculated by courts in the state. Spousal support, or alimony, must be court-ordered before it can be considered legally binding. Without a court order resulting from a domestic restraining order, annulment, legal separation or divorce, a spouse may not be legally obligated to start making payments. In some cases, a judge may issue a temporary spousal support order to be paid while the legal proceedings are underway.

Counties in California use slightly different calculations when deciding on spousal support. The rules published by local courts should provide specific information on how a county determining the amount of spousal support due. Generally speaking, there are a number of factors judges consider before finalizing an order for alimony payments, and they are outlined in the California Family Code.

Some of the statutory factors judges consider when ordering alimony payments include the length of the marriage, the quality of life and earning capacity each spouse had while married, and any history of domestic violence in the relationship. The duration of the marriage typically dictates how long the initial support order is designed to last. Abusive spouses are typically disqualified from receiving any type of court-ordered alimony, while spouses who are abused may be compensated for any emotional distress that resulted

Those who need more information to guide expectations concerning alimony payments might benefit from contacting a lawyer who has experience in divorce and other family law matters. Legal counsel may be able to examine the assets and earning capacity of each party in order to help determine the proper amount of spousal support to request on behalf of a client.

Source: California Courts, "Spousal/Partner Support", December 30, 2014

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