Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Guiding Families toFresh Starts
San Jose Family & Divorce Lawyers / San Jose Spousal Support Lawyer

San Jose Spousal Support Lawyer

When a marriage is coming to an end, few people recognize just how complex the process can become. There’s often a belief that each party will simply go its separate ways. This is particularly the case when no children are involved. However, many individuals end up blindsided by California spousal support payments. These payments are made from one spouse to the other in order to help them maintain a certain standard of living. This can occur as part of either a divorce or legal separation. If you’re concerned about how this will play out or need a modification to a prior order, a spousal support lawyer in San Jose, CA can help.

At Argyris Mah, LLP, you’ll work directly with a San Jose spousal support lawyer experienced in alimony payments and other issues related to divorce. There is a solid chance that a judge will order spousal support if there’s a significant difference in the income of former partners. However, the amount of these payments and how long they last can vary based on the unique circumstances of your situation. You need experienced family law attorneys on your side to make your case in court. That’s what we offer at Argyris Mah, LLP. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a San Jose spousal support lawyer.

How Does Spousal Support in California Work?

In California, you’ll often hear spousal support referred to as “alimony” or “spousal maintenance” payments. Regardless of the terminology used, the goal of such a court order is to ensure that a spouse who needs financial support after a divorce or legal separation receives it. We’ve all heard about women prior to the late 20th century who were left destitute when their husbands divorced them. Spousal support is meant to prevent such issues from happening, but it’s important to remember that payments are not gender-specific. The idea that its men who will always pay alimony stems from dated ideas of traditional gender roles.

A spousal maintenance order in California is made to ensure the receiving spouse is able to maintain a certain standard of living. Far too often, one spouse forgoes a career — and even higher education — in order to care for other issues around the home. This can create a situation where one partner has zero earning capacity following a divorce — while the other spouse can go about their life. This can be problematic even when child support payments are made to the party needing support. As such, a court can order temporary support or long-term support payments from one spouse to another.

Who Has to Pay Spousal Support?

While many people assume that it’s men who will have to make spousal support payments, this isn’t always true in the modern world. Evolving gender roles and even same-sex marriage have changed the way alimony is viewed. Put simply, a judge will look at each party’s income before making a decision on spousal maintenance payments. The person who has to pay will be the individual with a higher earning capacity. After all, it would make little sense for a judge to order spousal support payments to the primary breadwinner in a relationship. However, it’s important to realize that these payments are not always required.

A judge will typically only order alimony when one spouse actually needs support. This means that opposing spousal support orders could be as simple as showing that the requesting party is able to care for themselves. Even if both parties to a divorce can care for themselves, though, this will not affect issues such as child support or property division. These are separate matters altogether. Whether you’re the spouse requesting support or your ex-spouse is seeking money from you, you could benefit from the assistance of spousal support attorneys in San Jose, CA.

Are There Conditions to Spousal Maintenance?

When spousal maintenance is ordered, various conditions are typically attached to these court orders. For instance, payments are usually only required for a reasonable period of time based on the circumstances. The longer a marriage lasts, the longer subsequent payments will last. However, alimony payments will end automatically if the supported spouse remarries or either party dies. In cases where the receiving party has the potential to financially support themselves, the judge may set specific conditions to ensure they’re working towards supporting their own financial interests.

Such conditions include:

  • Vocational evaluations: A spouse requesting support may have to undergo a vocational evaluation to establish their ability to earn income that would help them maintain their current standard of living.
  •  Immediate cessation: A judge may set certain conditions that will result in the automatic termination of alimony payments. For instance, they may end spousal maintenance if the receiving spouse stops attending a job training program.
  • Step-down payments: A judge may set specific dates when spousal maintenance payments will automatically reduce. This is meant to incentivize the receiving party to work towards self-sufficiency.
  • Jurisdiction reservation: Judges may decide to reserve jurisdiction over long-term support orders. This gives them the opportunity to adjust alimony payments when they feel that doing so is appropriate and fair.

Are There Different Types of Spousal Support?

There are different types of alimony payments that a judge may order. A free consultation with our San Jose, CA spousal support attorneys can help you better understand whether these court orders are likely in your situation. The following information is meant to be a general overview. Schedule your free case evaluation with our law firm today to better understand your unique situation.

Temporary Spousal Support

Once divorce proceedings have commenced, a judge may issue a court order for temporary spousal support payments. These are meant to help the spouse with lower earning capacity maintain their standard of living while the divorce plays out. This order will typically only last for the duration of divorce proceedings. However, the judge may make modifications to the order while the divorce is ongoing if there’s a legitimate reason to do so.

Long-Term Spousal Support

Long-term spousal support orders are made during the finalization of a divorce. This is a serious financial transition for all parties involved, but the spouse who earns less will typically have a much more substantial change if they don’t receive support. Unless a marriage has lasted longer than ten years, alimony payments are often ordered to last half the length of the marriage. This means a 6-year relationship will usually result in court-ordered payments for three years. However, this is not a requirement. A judge will consider the best interests of all parties involved before making a determination.

Are Permanent Spousal Support Payments an Option?

People often use “long-term spousal support” and “permanent spousal support” interchangeably. However, it’s important to realize that alimony payments rarely last permanently. When a marriage lasts more than ten years, the courts will maintain indefinite jurisdiction over spousal support issues. However, they will typically expect the supported spouse to work towards becoming self-supporting. This is true unless the supported spouse cannot do so because of their age, disability, or other factors. While a judge can extend alimony payments, they’ll rarely last forever.

Contact Our Spousal Support Lawyers in San Jose, CA Today

When spouses are ready to end their marriage, it’s often the case that one party has more income than the other. In such a situation, spousal maintenance payments may be ordered. However, this is not always the case. Many factors can affect whether alimony is required. And even in the case of court-ordered spousal support, it’s the financial situation of both parties that determines how much is paid and how long these payments last. Still, it’s important to remember that a judge has substantial discretion in these matters. That’s why you should let a Santa Clara County family law attorney make your case.

At Argyris Mah, LLP, the goal of our law firm is to look out for our client’s financial interests. Perhaps you want to ensure you receive support after your divorce, or maybe you want the courts to understand that your former partner doesn’t need the support they’re requesting. You may even be in a situation where a court order has already been issued, but a significant change in circumstances warrants a change. Regardless of your situation, our spousal support lawyers in San Jose, CA are ready to assist. Contact us today by calling (408) 214-6366 to schedule your free consultation.