Alimony exists to help equalize the financial situation of the two divorcing spouses to an extent. There are two primary reasons why a court would award alimony to one spouse:
- To help one spouse “get back on their feet” or take steps to improve their earnings capacity in the future.
- To keep one spouse from having a permanently reduced standard of living compared to what they experienced during the marriage.
With that in mind, alimony can be either temporary or long-term. A judge may order temporary alimony while the divorce case is pending, And they are deciding on the relevant issues. Although a court may order long-term alimony, it is not intended to be a permanent solution for a spouse. Instead, the intent of alimony is for the other spouse to increase their earning potential over time. There are very rare circumstances that would permit permanent alimony. Even if alimony is long-term, a judge will caution the receiving spouse that they need to increase their earnings potential, so alimony will not be forever.
Not only will courts look at earnings and earnings potential in an alimony decision, but they will also look to equitable factors in deciding. A judge may look at the circumstances surrounding the end of the marriage and each spouse’s contribution to the community property.
Alimony is intended to be gender-neutral. Either spouse can request it if they have a need. Some spouses will be able to agree on alimony and a settlement agreement, while others may need to go to court to have it ordered.
Contact a Marin County Family Law Attorney Today
The Mason law office is here to help you with all of your family law needs, including divorce and custody matters. To speak with an attorney, you can call us at 833.717.1127 or send us a message online.