Alimony, also referred to as ‘spousal support’, can be a big burden on your finances. There can be personal reasons as well, where you may be looking to avoid paying alimony to your spouse. While avoiding paying alimony can be tough in the state of California, it is not impossible.
If you have the right reasons and a good attorney to argue your case, you can avoid paying spousal support when getting divorce. Here are some important things to know, as to how to get divorce without paying alimony / spousal support in California.
Is alimony mandatory in California?
It is not mandatory for the courts to award alimony to either the husband or wife. However, as there is a difference in income in most cases, alimony is difficult to avoid. There are other factors as well that can prompt the court to award alimony. Some of these are described below.
- Future earning potential – If a spouse has future earning potential based on their education and experience, the court may rule out the possibility of alimony.
- Time since marriage – Sharing of assets and liabilities increases with more time spent in the marriage. Dependency also increases with the duration of marriage. The longer the marriage, the higher the possibility that the court will award alimony.
- Standard of living – In a marriage, both spouses have the same standard of living. After divorce, the standard of living may decline for one of the spouses. In such cases, alimony will be difficult to avoid.
- Emotional and physical health – If the mental and physical health of a spouse is impacted due to low income after divorce, an alimony cannot be avoided.
How to avoid paying alimony in California?
- Alimony or spousal support is not automatic – There is a general perception that alimony is part of the divorce. However, that is not the case. The reason for alimony has to be established. There has to be an investigation that can conclusively prove the need for alimony. It is your right to fight against paying alimony.
- Prenuptial agreement – This is for folks who are not already married, but are planning to do so. While most people are not looking forward to their marriage getting in trouble, the fact is that the future is uncertain. If both partners agree, they can sign a prenuptial agreement. It will protect them from claims made against each other.
- Proof of cohabitation – If your spouse has started living with someone else, it can be a valid reason to avoid paying spousal support. Of course, the claim has to be supported with proper evidence.
- Out of court settlement – Both partners can talk to each other or work with their attorneys to agree to an out of court settlement. For example, the partners can decide to share their assets with mutual consent. This can also help avoid paying alimony.
Every case is different, so it will be better to consult a divorce attorney in California. With their guidance, you can achieve a fair deal for yourself and your partner as well.