Do I Qualify for Alimony?
By Henry F. Lewis on June 24, 2020
When spouses file for divorce, their financial assets are divided. In some cases, the division of assets ends all financial obligations and connections between the couple. However, in other situations, the court may order alimony payments.
Alimony, or spousal support, is a payment meant to help one spouse restart their life or become financially stable after a divorce. Alimony is issued on a case-by-case basis, so not all divorces are subject to support payments. Divorce attorneys Michael A. Gardner and Henry F. Lewis can help clients at their Oakland, CA, firm determine if they qualify for alimony payments. Our team can discuss several factors that are considered when determining whether someone qualifies for alimony payments.
The Duration of the Marriage
The duration of a marriage is one factor that may impact whether a spouse qualifies for alimony payments. Although there are no legal stipulations for how long a person must be married before they qualify for alimony, spousal support is generally not ordered for short-term marriages. In most cases, our clients must be married for five years or more for the court to consider spousal support requests.
Earning Capacity of Each Spouse
One of the most relevant factors when considering alimony payments for clients at our Oakland firm is the amount of income earned by each spouse, or their earning capacity. If both spouses earn roughly the same amount of money, or can continue to maintain the lifestyle they were accustomed to during marriage, alimony will likely not be awarded. However, if one spouse earns substantially less than the other, they likely have a case for spousal support payments.
Contributions to the Relationship
Contributions to the relationship are another important factor when making a decision regarding alimony. In many marriages, one spouse stays home to care for children and the household while the other works. Similarly, one spouse may choose to support the other while they pursue an education. These types of contributions should be valued just as much as financial contributions. If spouses have agreed to this arrangement, alimony payments may be ordered to allow time for the individual to restart their life and get to a point where they are financially independent.
If one spouse goes into a marriage with significantly more wealth than the other, they may decide to create a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement stipulates how much money each spouse will receive in the event of a divorce. If a prenuptial agreement is in place, it will determine whether or not alimony payments are awarded. A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract, so a spouse has no right to alimony payments if the prenuptial agreement says that no spousal support will be paid. Similarly, if a prenuptial agreement stipulates alimony payments, then the spouse is legally obligated to provide them.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are pursuing a divorce and would like to determine if you may be due alimony payments, the divorce attorneys at Gardner & Lewis, LLP, would be happy to assist you. To learn more about your legal options, call our Oakland law firm at (510) 451-4822 or schedule a consultation online at your earliest convenience.
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“The needs of your family are always at the forefront of our legal services. Whether through litigation or mediation, we believe that reaching a fair, efficient solution with minimal negative impact to your family is of the utmost importance.” Henry F. Lewis