Establishing alimony is not as simple as plugging numbers into a calculator. The practice is more of an art than a science and depends on factors unique to each marriage and financial situation. If you are going through a divorce, here are four things you need to know about the process of determining alimony:
1. The Judge Will Look at Both of Your Incomes
In deciding who should pay alimony to whom, the court will examine tax returns and paycheck stubs from both spouses. Whether or not you and your partner filed taxes jointly or separately can also make a difference in some situations for withholding purposes.
2. The Court Will Assess Future Earning Potential
A judge will look at the level of education and career path of each partner to determine alimony levels. For instance, if one partner is currently the supporter, but the supported party is in medical school and will soon graduate, the alimony will be adjusted given the supported party’s future earning potential.
3. Compensation Is Not Limited to Just a Paycheck
When determining alimony amounts, the court will consider not just your gross income, but also bonuses and any other work benefits you may receive. For instance, if one spouse has paid lunches and dinners at the office but brings home less take-home pay than his or her partner, a judge may try to equate those financial contributions to the household.
4. Your Standard of Living Is Important
If you and your children have become accustomed to living a certain way, the court will try to ensure that the family does not suffer a financial hardship due to alimony. The supporting party will therefore be assigned alimony based in part on the supported party’s standard of life.
Alimony calculations are not purely mechanical: They require the skilled assistance of an attorney. At Moreno Family Law, we can help you determine the best alimony payment for your situation by accounting for bonuses, vacation time, and other compensation. If you are going through a divorce in California, call our San Jose office at (408) 266-9011.
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