Alimony is money paid from one spouse to another after a divorce. In some cases, one spouse may be expected to have a harder time financially than the other. Courts may order the higher-earning spouse to pay alimony (also known as spousal support) to the other spouse to make up for that disparity. If you’re planning a California divorce and know that alimony is likely to be part of the final settlement, it’s important to understand everything you need to know about alimony so you can prepare accordingly. It’s also crucial that you understand how this will impact your future divorce negotiations. If you are on the receiving end of alimony payments, it’s important that you know about all the different ways that you can reduce or avoid paying them back in the long run.
How To Avoid Paying Alimony In California
1. Negotiate For A Lower Alimony Payment In The Divorce Settlement
The first step to avoiding paying alimony is to negotiate for a lower alimony payment. This can be done by negotiating with your spouse directly, or by hiring an attorney to represent you and help you negotiate a better deal.
2. Make Sure Your Divorce Settlement Includes Language That Says You Are Only Paying Temporary Alimony
If you are receiving spousal support, make sure the settlement agreement says that this is only temporary. This means that the payments will stop when either of you remarry or terminate cohabitation with another person. If your ex does not follow this agreement, he or she may have to pay extra money in order to make up for the difference between what was originally agreed upon and what was actually paid during the marriage.
3. Get Remarried Or Start Cohabitating With Someone Else As Quickly As Possible After Your Divorce Is Finalized
The faster you get remarried or start cohabitating with someone else, the quicker your alimony payments will stop. In California, alimony payments are only supposed to last for a certain amount of time. Once that time is up, your ex will no longer be legally required to pay you any money. This is usually up to the discretion of the judge who handles your case, but if you are getting remarried or starting a new relationship relatively soon after the divorce is finalized, it may look like you are not in need of financial support and that you’re not receiving any financial help from anyone else.
4. Move Out Of State Once Your Divorce Is Finalized
If you move out of state after a divorce has been finalized and have an alimony agreement in place, it can be very difficult for the court to enforce the terms of this agreement if they can’t reach you directly. The court may still require that your ex-spouse pays back what they owe, but they will have to take other steps in order to get the money to you. This can be a long and complicated process that may not be worth it for your ex.
5. Get A Job With A High Enough Salary That You Are No Longer Eligible For Alimony Payments
If you are receiving alimony payments, it’s important to make sure that the court considers your income when determining whether or not you need financial support from your ex-spouse. If you get a job with a high enough salary, this may be enough proof for the court to determine that you do not need financial support from your ex-spouse and that he or she should stop making alimony payments.
When Can You Get Alimony?
1. If You Are A Stay-At-Home Parent
If you have been the primary caregiver for your children while your spouse worked, you might be eligible for alimony in California. This is usually awarded to women who stayed home to take care of the house and children while their husbands earned most of the household income. However, if you were a stay-at-home parent who was also not working or earning any money, it is unlikely that you will be eligible for alimony.
2. If You Need Financial Help After A Long Marriage
When couples have been married for many years, they may need additional financial support after their divorce to help them get back on their feet and adjust to life apart from their ex-spouse. If this is the case, they might be eligible for alimony payments until they can get back on their feet financially. In most cases, these payments are only made during the divorce proceedings and do not continue after the divorce is finalized.
3. If Your Ex-Spouse Earns A Substantial Income
If your ex-spouse is a high earner, you may be eligible for alimony if you are unable to make ends meet on your own. However, you should be aware that this is usually only the case if you were not earning any income during the marriage and would have needed to take a significant pay cut to stay home and raise children. Even in that case, it is unlikely that you will receive alimony payments for long periods of time. For example, if your ex-spouse earned $250,000 per year during the marriage and you made $60,000 per year as a stay-at-home parent with no other income, then it would be very unlikely that your ex can continue paying alimony after the divorce is finalized.
4. If One Spouse Has Medical Expenses Or Needs Help With Their Children While They’re Unable To Work
In some cases, people need financial help to cover the costs of medical care or childcare while they are unable to work due to a disability. If this is the case, you may be eligible for alimony payments while you recover from surgery or while you are caring for a child who is sick. In some cases, these payments will continue after the divorce is finalized if your ex-spouse needs ongoing financial help because of their disability.
5. If Your Ex-Spouse Has Been Paying For Most Of The Household Expenses
If your spouse was primarily responsible for paying all of the household expenses, then it may be possible that you will continue to pay alimony until you have saved up enough money to support yourself and your children on your own. However, in most cases, it would be unlikely that this would last very long since you would likely need to take a significant pay cut to stay home and raise children. You also might not want to continue making these payments after the divorce is finalized if your ex-spouse has been paying for all of the household expenses and you can afford to buy your own home or pay off your student loans.
6. If One Spouse Needs Help With Day-To-Day Tasks While They’re Unable To Work
If one spouse needs help with daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, gardening, and child care, then those tasks may qualify for alimony payments if you are unable to manage them on your own. These types of payments will continue after the divorce is finalized if your ex-spouse needs ongoing help with these tasks because of a disability or because they are caring for a child who is sick.
How To Negotiate For Reduced Alimony Payments
1. Figure Out How Much Alimony You Will Be Receiving.
If you’re expecting to receive alimony payments, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what your financial obligations will be. You should also understand the details of your divorce agreement, including the amount and duration of alimony payments.
2. Find Ways To Reduce The Amount Of Alimony That You Owe.
If you can show that you’re paying less than what is legally required, your spouse may agree to reduce or eliminate their payments entirely. For example, if your spouse can show that they’re working full-time and contributing to their retirement accounts but are still struggling financially, they may be willing to give up some or all of their alimony in exchange for being able to continue living at home and not having to pay rent or mortgage costs. If they were already paying $1,000 per month in spousal support but have now reduced it down to $500 per month because they’ve gotten a better job or have been out of the workforce for a while, this could be a good deal for them.
3. Ask For Forgiveness In Exchange For Reduced Or Eliminated Alimony Payments.
In some cases, you may be able to negotiate with your spouse to reduce your alimony payments in exchange for the forgiveness of some or all of their debt. For example, if your spouse has racked up credit card debt and is struggling to survive on their own, you may be able to convince them that they should forgive that debt so they can afford to pay you alimony as part of the divorce settlement.
4. Negotiate With Your Spouse On How Much Alimony You Will Receive Each Month.
If you’re not expecting any spousal support payments, consider asking your spouse how much money they think they should be paying each month so that you can plan accordingly when it comes time to finalize the divorce settlement agreement (see below). If it looks like you’re going to be getting alimony payments, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how much you will be receiving and the timeframe in which you’ll be receiving those payments.
When Does Alimony Payments Start?
- Alimony is automatically awarded by the court if one spouse earns more money than the other.
- Alimony payments are determined by court order, and not based on the value of your assets during your marriage.
- Alimony can be modified or eliminated if one or both spouses remarries, but it can’t be modified or eliminated after a divorce has been finalized.
- Alimony can also be reduced or eliminated if one spouse makes more money after the divorce than before, but it can’t be modified or eliminated if one spouse makes less money after the divorce than before.
- If you were ordered to pay alimony in a previous divorce, you may still have to pay it even if both parties agreed that alimony should no longer be paid. You must make an agreement with the other party in writing to change this order, and that agreement will be binding only if both of you sign it and file it with the court within 30 days.
Alimony is awarded in situations where one spouse earns significantly less during a marriage than the other spouse. It’s important that you understand everything you need to know about alimony so you can prepare accordingly. It’s also crucial that you understand how this will impact your future divorce negotiations. If you are on the receiving end of alimony payments, it’s important that you know about all the different ways that you can reduce or avoid paying them back in the long run.