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The factors courts consider in an alimony case

Nobody wants to pay alimony, and not all spouses want to receive it. However, if the legal conditions are ripe for an alimony payment -- and the less-moneyed spouse wants to pursue it -- then spousal maintenance payments could be an issue in a divorce.

If you're worried that you'll need to pay alimony, you might want to understand more about the factors courts will consider when deciding your alimony matter.

Here's what courts look at in alimony cases

The factors listed below help the course decide (1) whether or not to award alimony; (2) how much the monthly alimony payments will be; (3) how long the alimony payments will last:

  • The ages, physical health, emotional health and the financial conditions of both spouses. In other words, how much do the spouses earn, or how much are the spouses capable of earning if they are not currently employed -- and how much money do the spouses have in shared and individual assets.
  • What standard of living did the spouses enjoy during the course of their marriage?
  • How long was the couple married?
  • What is the ability of the paying spouse to provide regular financial support to the receiving spouse?

Can you protect yourself from needing to pay alimony?

You might not be able to prevent the need to pay alimony if the circumstances are such that the legal obligation exists. However, you might be able to litigate the matter in such a way as to reduce the amount and duration of the alimony payments.

Ultimately, it's best to try and negotiate an out of court settlement regarding alimony, as you will be able to manage and control the outcome. However, if your ex-spouse is not being reasonable in these negotiations, it may be to your advantage to litigate the matter in court.

Don't take risks when it comes to spousal support disputes

Making the wrong move during alimony settlement negotiations, or during the litigation of an alimony dispute, can result in costly financial consequences. As such, California spouses should approach their alimony disputes with care, caution and an in-depth understanding of California family law.

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