Determining an Award of Spousal Support in California

Ten Years of Marriage is the Benchmark for Determining an Award of Spousal Support in California

A ten-year marriage will most likely result in one of the parties in a divorce receiving spousal support in California. And, for the most part, the spouse who earns the lesser of the couple will be awarded spousal support in accordance with the California’s statute that requires the standard of living of the couple as a married entity be considered when determining if spousal support is appropriate or not. Consequently, if the higher- earning spouse of a ten-year marriage can pay, spousal support (alimony) is a real consideration in the divorce settlement.

California Family Law Offers Options as to How You Can Receive Spousal Support

You and your spouse do have a few options where spousal support is concerned. If you can agree to a fixed spousal support payment for a certain period of time, you have the ideal situation, with little courtroom drama and less in the way of attorneys’ fees. Or, you can each waive your spousal support rights in the divorce agreement; however, be aware that should you waive support, you cannot modify the spousal support portion of your divorce agreement later regardless of the amount of time you were married or your need for support.

Other Spousal Support Benefits You May Qualify for if You Have Been Married for 10 Years or More

Another benefit of the married-for-10-years divorce scenario is that the Social Security Administration designates 10-year or longer marriages as long term marriages. This means that you may be eligible for Social Security benefits based on your former spouse’s earnings once you are retirement age. Unless you remarry, don’t forget to check out this benefit to determine if you should file for your Social Security benefits under your spouse’s benefit amount or your own. Should you be eligible for Social Security benefits because of your long term marriage status, the Social Security Administration may allow you to collect the derivative social security benefits of one-half the amount that your former spouse is eligible to receive.

Finally, if you have been married to an active duty member of the military for 10 years or longer, military retirement benefits may be owed to you as well. If this is the case, you qualify for what’s termed a direct enforcement, meaning that you are entitled to receive a percentage of your former military spouse’s retirement pay directly from the military finance office.

Contact an Experienced California Family Law Attorney for More Information about Your Rights Concerning Spousal Support

Spousal support in California has a lot of conditions and caveats attached to it. To make sure that you have explored all your options under California law for the receiving of spousal support, contact an experienced California family law attorney to consult with you about your duties or rights concerning spousal support.

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