What Are Typical Alimony Payments?

By Henry F. Lewis on June 26, 2019

Negotiating a divorceThe Oakland, CA attorneys of Gardner & Lewis, LLP provide essential legal help for divorce and legally ending a marriage. This includes insight into alimony and child support payments. We find that many clients confuse or conflate the two, which is understandable.

Attorneys Michael A. Gardner and Henry F. Lewis would like to go over some of the basics of alimony payments and how they are calculated. This should give you an idea of how much is paid to a spouse as well as why the amount can change with time.

About Alimony

Also known as spousal support, alimony is paid by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse. These payments help maintain a lifestyle similar to that experienced during marriage. In addition to alimony payments once the divorce is finalized, a judge can also award temporary spousal support during the divorce proceedings if needed.

How Long Will I Need to Pay Alimony?

There is no set length of time a person will make alimony payments, but the duration of alimony payments is typically linked to the length of the marriage.

If a marriage lasted fewer than 10 years, courts typically do not award alimony for more than half of that amount of time. If a marriage lasted more than 10 years, there is generally no set end date for alimony payments. Yet even in long-lasting marriages, alimony payments may not be permanent, and typically last for 60 to 70 percent of the duration of the marriage.

Situations can differ from marriage to marriage. Our Oakland divorce attorneys can help you gauge a general duration of alimony payments.

General Calculation of Alimony Payments

Some courts in California use a formula to determine the amount of alimony payments made. This could involved 50 percent of the lower income earner’s net income subtracted from 40 percent of the higher income earner’s net income. Adjustments to the final amount will take into account taxes and any child support payments being made.

Factors That Affect the Amount of Alimony Payments

While formulas help standardize the system, there are numerous factors that can affect the amount a person pays or receives. The courts will consider just a few of these factors when modifying the amount for alimony payments:

  • The job training and skills of the supported spouse
  • The current job market regarding the supported spouse’s skill/training
  • If domestic duties during marriage affected the supported spouse’s present and future earning potential
  • The ability of the supporting spouse to make alimony payments
  • The needs of the supported spouse and supporting spouse
  • Property or other assets awarded to one of the spouses
  • The age of each spouse
  • The health of each spouse

Modifying Alimony Payments

Alimony payment amounts are not set in stone. They can be modified based on changes in need or means for both the supporting spouse and the supported spouse. This modification of alimony payment amounts must be reviewed by the court.

Terminating Alimony Payments

In addition to modifying alimony payments, a spouse can also request the termination of alimony payments based on changes in need or means. As with modification requests, a court will need to review the termination request.

Learn More About Alimony Payments

If you live in the Oakland area and need to speak with a lawyer about alimony payments, be sure to contact a skilled divorce and family law attorney. You can reach the team at Gardner & Lewis, LLP by phone at (510) 451-4822.

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Oakland Office

1939 Harrison St
Ste 210
Oakland, CA 94612

Open Today 9:00am - 5:00pm

More Info Directions (510) 451-4822