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Alimony Payments: What The Court Considers

Factors that Affect Alimony Payments

The divorce court considers many  factors when determining the alimony award. Key circumstances the court will consider include the standard of living, and the taxability of payments. Your family attorney can look at these factors ahead of time to get an idea of how much alimony you will be awarded.

Standard of Living

The standard of living that you and your spouse enjoyed during the course of your marriage is a major factor the court considers in awarding alimony. Your family attorney will argue that to the extent possible, you should enjoy a similar standard of living after your divorce that you enjoyed during the marriage. As such, a high standard of living suggests a higher alimony award.

However, this argument is not always so black and white, especially in financially strained cases where the dual income of both parties was barely sufficient to meet the household obligations during marriage. Consequently, although standard of living can be a consideration, it should not be the sole definitive factor.

Taxability of Payments

Alimony payments are considered taxable income for the party receiving it and a deduction from income for the party paying it. As such, your family attorney may be able to use this tax-benefit argument to encourage agreement to a higher alimony payment from your ex-spouse.

There is no guaranteed formula that a divorce lawyer can use to calculate alimony in California. However, there are various factors that you and your lawyer can consider to guess at what your alimony payments might be.

Property Division

One of the major factors the court will consider in determining alimony payments is what assets the spouse has received in the division of the marital estate. For instance, if the spouse has received an asset that generates income (such as rental property), then the court will award a lower amount to offset the income.

Ability to Pay

Another major consideration is the paying spouse’s ability to pay. The court will generally not award payments in excess of what the payer-spouse can afford to pay. The judge will use the post-divorce budget to make this decision.

Mental and Physical Health

The overall mental and physical health is also considered. A spouse who has mental or physical impairments will have a difficult time earning a living. As such, he or she will be awarded greater alimony to offset this lack of ability to successfully enter the workforce.

We Can Help You Get the Alimony Payments you Deserve

For more information about the factors that need to be considered in calculating alimony payments, call Zonder Family Law at (818) 309-7059 to schedule a consultation with a Ventura family attorney.

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Hello, I'm Lisa Zonder

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