Category: Family Law

Estate Planning in the Era of Covid-19

By Shannon A. Jung, Attorney

The global Covid-19 pandemic has forced many of us to confront that distressing “what if” question as we come face-to-face with mortality. Inevitably we think about what happens to our loved ones after we are gone. Although this process can be stressful in such uncertain times, one practical thing people can do right now is to channel that anxiety into estate planning. It can be extremely comforting to know that at least one thing is in your control. And, considering that most people are spending much more time at home, now is a good time to sit down and think about building your estate plan.

The following are common issues and questions that arise during that process:

What are the benefits of having an estate plan?

Most importantly, estate planning gives you control over your assets after your death. Additionally, proper estate planning can save your loved ones money and the headache of trying to figure out what assets you have and where they are located. There are often tax advantages for you during your lifetime and for your beneficiaries after your death. A common misconception to address is that assets do not simply “pass” to your heirs if you die without an estate plan. Generally, if your estate is over $166,250 (as of 2020), it must go through probate before it can be distributed to your heirs.

A Trust vs. a Will

Although both a trust and a will are legitimate estate planning tools, there are key differences to be aware of. Based on your specific needs and your estate, one may be preferred over the other. The basic difference is that a trust is designed to keep your estate out of the court system. A will, however, must generally be presented for probate, unless your estate is under a certain amount, as previously noted. Probate is generally a lengthy and expensive process. However, one upside of probate is that it is court-supervised, which may be a benefit if you anticipate disputes between beneficiaries.

I don’t own a lot of things. Why should I bother estate planning?

Contrary to popular belief, estate planning can benefit anyone, no matter the size of the estate. As noted above, it gives you a say in how your estate is distributed, even if that estate consists of a house, personal property, or money under your mattress. Having a choice in where your property ends up is not only empowering but necessary if you want it go to a specific person or organization. Additionally, estate planning doesn’t have to cost a lot. Many people do not realize they can quickly make a will from their own home, as long as certain requirements are met. Additionally, California offers numerous ways to designate beneficiaries on your home and bank accounts without ever drafting a will or trust.

I have an estate plan already. Should I update it?

If you already have an estate plan, first congratulate yourself on your forethought. Second, think about reviewing your plan every five years or so to make sure it is up to date with current state and federal laws. For instance, the gift and estate tax exemption is $11.8 million in 2020, meaning that your estate will only owe taxes if it is over that amount. However, that exemption is set to expire in 2025, and we do not know what the exemption amount will be after that. It is also advisable to revisit your plan in times of crisis and uncertainty, such as the current pandemic, to make sure it still reflects your priorities.

Herrig & Vogt understands that this time is fraught with uncertainty. Know that you are not alone. But also know that there is something in your control, even during a global pandemic. You may be feeling overwhelmed with the deluge of news, state and federal orders, relief bills, and medical advisories. Our professionals are here to help you sort through all the noise so you can identify what is most important to you. Moreover, our firm has the capabilities to allow you to do the majority of your estate planning from the comfort of your own home. Please reach out to us today to discuss your estate planning questions and needs in this unprecedented time.

California Child Support 101

mother and child support

By: Trevor Hensley, Family Law Attorney

 

As a separating parent, it is only natural to be interested in more information about the process and rules behind California’s child support system.

From healthcare to education, food, rent and the myriad of other expenses relating to raising a child, you have any number of reasons to be worried about both their short-term and long-term future.

The courts have enumerated several child support guidelines which were specifically designed to help parents navigate the legal process and provide some expectations regarding what parents might be paying or receiving in terms of child support. With around half (48.7%) of the country’s estimated 13.4 million custodial single parents receiving some type of legal or informal child support, it is important that separating parents understand the basics of how child support actually works.

This post will briefly review some of the most frequently asked questions regarding child support in the state of California. Please note that as each child support case has its own special circumstances and your case is likely to have a unique set of facts that could significantly impact the amount of support due. The information below is meant to convey the general guidelines and is not meant as case-specific advice.

Let’s take a look:

1. What is the purpose of the child support law and how is it defined?

Section 4050 of the California Family Code, is the starting point to every child support order. Known to attorneys as defining the guidelines to determining child support, this statute has two primary purposes. The first is to provide children with a support amount that is sufficient to help the custodial parent maintain a close approximation to the standard of living enjoyed during the relationship, while the second is to allow for the consistent calculation of that support between applications to different cases to avoid favoritism or prejudice.

The term “child support” typically refers to court-ordered payments for the purpose of sustaining and maintaining a dependent child post-separation. A dependent child is an unemancipated person under the age of 18 who has not graduated from high school and is not;

  1. Self-supporting
  2. A member of the armed forces
  3. Married

As the number one interest of the state of California in these proceedings is child welfare, the general purpose of the regulations is to compel parents to provide monetary assistance, health insurance coverage, day care, and other services for their dependent minor(s).

Here are a few more important points to remember:

  • The support obligation is mutual, and based on a multi-part formula
  • California is an expensive state to live in, and support orders typically reflect this
  • The support guidelines are designed to avoid prolonged conflict and reduce litigation

2. How does a parent request child support?

Although there are multiple ways in which parents can initiate a child support action, they typically begin with either:

  1. A related foundational filing (motion); or
  2. A California Department of Child Support Services action (via a local child support agency).

Proceedings that do not involve the latter agency most often begin with a related Petition, such as a petition for divorce, a paternity/custody petition, or an application for a domestic violence restraining order. To initiate proceedings, the petitioning parent must complete the following steps:

  1. Fill out any forms that are required (including a form FL-300 support request)
  2. Have the forms reviewed by an experienced family law attorney
  3. Make at least two copies of the forms
  4. File the forms with a court clerk and get a hearing date
  5. Use a constable service or third-party to serve the copies of the filings on the other parent (typically, at least 16 days prior to the court date)
  6. File proof of this service with the court
  7. Attend the court hearing

On the date of the hearing, the assigned judge will evaluate the facts of the case, listen to testimony under oath from both parties, and sign an order based on the circumstances of the case.

If there are separate disputes regarding parenting time, income, or other issues that could potentially impact support, the court will hear those issues as well. It is important to note that although the steps listed above are standard procedure for when a parent would like to adjudicate a support petition in court, it is not always necessary to do so in order to obtain child support. Many parents come to an agreement through a mediation process, allowing parents to draft their own agreement, sign it, and take it to a judge for review. If the judge signs it, the agreement becomes an official court order.

3. How is child support calculated?

California Child Support Calculator

 

Although the guideline itself uses a complex formula involving income, tax deductions, and “time spent parenting” (among other inputs), California also has an online child support calculator to assist parents in reaching a specific dollar amount more easily. The first step in calculating child support is to be organized, as the calculator will only provide an accurate number if parents provide each other with precise and up-to-date information. This information is typically provided in the form of an Income and Expense declaration, or FL-150. Each parent must determine, if applicable, the following inputs before an accurate amount for child support can be calculated:

  • The percentage of time spent with the child
  • Gross income
  • Any available tax deductions (i.e., mortgage interest)
  • Mandatory payroll deductions (i.e., health insurance)
  • Child care costs (as allocated to each parent)

The resulting support number is called a “guideline amount,” and acts as a baseline for the court’s order of support. This baseline order is not the end of our inquiry, however, as the parties may have other recurring costs related to the child that should be considered. This means that parents could, in theory, be ordered to pay each other additional child support inthe form of add-ons.

California Family Code Section 4062 lists two types of childcare add-ons: mandatory and discretionary.
A judge must order additional, mandatory child support add-ons for;

  1. Child care costs related to employment (or for reasonably necessary education/training for employment skills)
  2. For the reasonable uninsured health care costs of a child.

A judge can also order discretionary add-ons for;

  1. Costs related to the educational/other special needs of a child
  2. Travel expenses for visitation.

It is important to note that although add-ons are to be shared equally by parents, the court is authorized to allocate them based on each parent’s net spendable income should equal apportionment be deemed unreasonable.

4. Can child support orders be changed?

California law does allow for the modification of child support orders in certain circumstances. Modification may be justified by changes in the income of the custodial or non-custodial parent.  Some common examples of this change may be the following:

  • Unemployment
  • Illness, injury, or disability
  • A state-to-state or country-to-country move
  • The birth of a new child
  • Criminal conviction or jail sentence

If any of the above arise, however, a parent cannot simply stop making their court-ordered payments, but must formally file a request for a modification of the previously issued support order. It is absolutely imperative that you ask the court, as soon as possible, for a modification to the support order following a change in circumstance. Each day that passes is another day that support is paid pursuant to the wrong numbers. Modifications to the order will be effective on the day that the motion is filed, not the day of the hearing.

Once a court reviews a modification request, the same factors that were reviewed for the original order will be considered and, if a significant change has occurred, support will be recalculated If a change in circumstance cannot be demonstrated then the request is likely to be denied.

In Sum…

While this post has covered some basic, and common points on California child support law and its governing body of regulations, it is by no means exhaustive. Parents looking to efficiently and amicably handle a request for child support should enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney from a reputable firm.

For more information on how our legal team can help, don’t hesitate to contact our offices to schedule an appointment.

Protect Your ‘Kingdom’ With A Prenup

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle
Image Credit: By Mark Jones, via Wikimedia Commons

 

By Trevor L. Hensley, Family Law Attorney

Prince Harry is set to marry Meghan Markle this weekend. Every detail, from the flowers to the bridal party, was likely the result of painstaking effort and planning. These details are important, but it would be interesting to know whether or not other (less public) details have been ironed out in these few days leading up to the wedding.

Prince Harry’s net worth is estimated to be between $25 and $40 million, a far cry from the most generous estimates of Ms. Markle’s net worth as an actress. Prince Harry may not be concerned that he is being married for his money; however, if he wasn’t British Royalty, he probably would have sought counsel regarding whether he needed protection in the event of a divorce.

Whether you’re a millionaire prince, a famous actress, just starting out in life, or anything in between – getting advice about the ramifications of divorce and making a plan could save your “kingdom”.

In California, prenuptial agreements, or “prenups,” are enforceable agreements you make with your future spouse to provide guidance in the event of a divorce. The agreements you reach in your prenup will take the place of family law general rules, rules which you may or may not agree with. Rules concerning the amount and duration of spousal support and the acquisition of property are some of the most common examples of topics covered in a prenup.

For example, property acquired during marriage is presumed to be community property and is subject to equal division. Furthermore, paying the mortgage on a separate residence (one you acquired before the marriage) during the marriage could result in the community (your new spouse) acquiring an interest in that property. These could be unexpected consequences of sharing your life with your new spouse, consequences you might like to avoid.

One of the most common factors in a prenup concerns spousal support. The rules regarding spousal support are found in California Family Code section 4320. This code section essentially states that if the marriage is more than 10 years in duration, spousal support could last indefinitely. Unsurprisingly, the word “indefinitely” scares most people.  A properly drafted prenup could limit your exposure to high spousal support for an unlimited period of time. The agreement could specify the amount of support and the duration for which it will be paid.

That being said, prenuptial agreements aren’t for everyone. The California Family Code is based on equity (fairness). Why shouldn’t a spouse acquire an interest in their new-spouse’s property if that spouse is paying the new-spouse’s mortgage? Why shouldn’t a spouse who stays at home and raises the children be able to receive support while they find employment? These questions are important and should be answered before pursuing a prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial agreements can also be unenforceable if:

  • The party did not execute it voluntarily
  • The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed

The agreement must be fair and must be based on what was known to the parties at the time it was executed. It is best to consult with an attorney regarding what is fair in your circumstances and to get help wording the agreement so as to avoid unconscionability at time of enforcement.

Finally, the cost associated with their creation and the potentially negative effect that a prenup could have on your relationship might outweigh the benefits of having one.

Regardless, having an open and honest conversation with your future prince or princess may enable you to reach agreements that will help mitigate anger and frustration should divorce, unfortunately, occur in the future.

Spousal Support In California

Spousal Support Negotiations

By Trevor L. Hensley

Spousal support can be a nuisance or a godsend, depending on whether you are the payer or the recipient. People’s feelings regarding the issue of spousal support have spawned thousands of cases and hundreds of legal statutes. Each case and statute explains or modifies the rules regarding the payment of spousal support.

If you’re reading this blog then you probably have feelings of your own regarding this issue. If you believe that something is unfair regarding how much you are paying or being paid, your feelings may be correct. There may be a case or a statute out there which supports your feelings, so you shouldn’t be too quick to write them off.

I hope this blog helps to de-mystify the issue of spousal support, breaking down the core concepts into manageable parts so you can apply the facts of your situation to the vast history of spousal support orders in California. There could be a change warranted, whether it’s regarding the amount or the duration of spousal support.

What Is The Purpose Of Spousal Support?

The primary purpose of spousal support is to enable the requesting party to become self-supporting and to provide a means by which they could come close to affording the standard of living that they had grown accustomed to during the marriage. At the same time, they must figure out how to provide that standard of living for themselves. There is an inherent tension in spousal support cases because one party wants support to end while the other wants it to continue. These opposing goals can make spousal support cases some of the most complicated cases in the Family Law arena. This places a premium on being knowledgeable at the beginning of the case so you can get what you want by the end of the case.

There are hundreds of cases and statutes out there regarding the issue of spousal support, but a good starting place is Family Code section 4320. This statute explains the two core concepts of spousal support: amount and duration. This blog will be focusing on duration, which is the amount of time that a person is required to pay, or has the right to receive, spousal support.

Spousal Support Duration

Duration is dictated by Family Code section 4320(i). This section clearly indicates that the goal of spousal support is to enable the supported party to become self-supporting. This is an interesting concept, as it encourages the payer to provide the supported party with the resources they need to become self-supporting. Helping your now ex-spouse find a job and providing them with resources and encouragement will help them earn more in the long run and achieve financial freedom sooner.

Section 4320(i) goes one step further and tells the supported spouse that they must become self-supporting and that they have a “reasonable period of time” to do so. This “reasonable” period is defined in short-term marriages but left open in long-term marriages. Short-term marriages are, generally, marriages of less than 10 years. Long-term marriages are, generally, marriages that have lasted for more than 10 years. I say “generally” because the closer you get to the 10 year cutoff the more likely it is that the court will consider a longer duration in spousal support.

In short-term marriages, a reasonable period of time is generally half the length of the marriage. This means that, in the case of a 4-year marriage, a supported spouse could request and receive spousal support for another 2 years after the date of separation. It is important to note, however, that the court still has discretion in ordering spousal support to continue for more than that period of time. Circumstances like disability or a depressed job market might persuade the court to decide that “reasonable” means more than half the length of the marriage. This is often a difficult argument, however, and requires that significant facts be presented.

In long-term marriages, duration can be a little more difficult to determine. It is important that the payer and the payee understand that for the vast majority of our culture’s existence, one spouse (usually the male) was the breadwinner and the other spouse (usually the female) was the homemaker and child-raiser.  Women were often left with fewer job-skills and thus no way to support themselves after they left the household. Spousal support is there to ensure that the payee has some support while they try to obtain those job-skills through education/internships and as they try to re-enter the job market.

It can take a long time for someone who has been out of the job market for 10 years or more to become self-sufficient. The time it should take to become self-supporting is largely analyzed on a case by case basis, making a set timeframe for termination impracticable. It is dependent upon you and your attorney to present the judge with as much information as possible about why the duration of support should be longer or shorter. It is particularly important in cases of long-term marriages that you retain an attorney to help you with minimizing or maximizing the amount of time that spousal support will be paid. This can be accomplished by presenting the judge with as much relevant information as possible regarding the position you intend to take.

Duration can mean a great deal to a divorcing couple but sometimes the amount being paid can be even more significant.

Contested vs Uncontested Divorce: What’s the Difference?

A contested vs uncontested divorce is often classified by attorneys and the courts.

What determines whether a divorce is contested or uncontested is how well you and your spouse can negotiate your differences. But before we explore the differences between these two types of divorce further, there are a few other terms you should know.

Divorce Terms

As with any legal matter, there are certain terms of art, words, and phrases that have special meanings. Those meanings, while understood by lawyers and the courts, can sometimes be confusing for everyone else. Here are some of the terms you may encounter if you decide to file for divorce.

No-fault. This means that neither party to the marriage is legally blamed or penalized for causing the dissolution. The court doesn’t need to hear about anyone’s cheatin’ heart. A spouse’s behavior may be a factor in some decisions such as debt distribution or child custody, but it isn’t a factor in deciding whether the divorce may be granted.

Irreconcilable Difference. In a throwback to a time when a complainant had to declare a reason for wanting a divorce, most divorce pleadings today still require the person filing to indicate why they think the divorce should be granted. Each no-fault divorce state has its own statutory language that individuals must use when stating their reason.

Summary Dissolution. A summary dissolution is a type of streamlined divorce. But summary dissolutions aren’t available to everyone. In some states such as California, summary dissolution is only available to couples ending marriages or domestic partnerships if they haven’t been together long, have no children together, and there are no major debts or assets to distribute.

Petition. This is the document one spouse files with the court to begin the divorce process. Sometimes this paperwork may be called a complaint or pleading. Once the petition is filed, it must be formally delivered or served to the other spouse. This is accomplished by delivering a formal document called a summons of dissolution following the procedures required by the court.

Default. Once a divorce pleading is filed by one spouse, the other must respond. If they don’t answer the complaint, then the divorce is granted by default. Even though the terms may seem similar, a default judgment granting a divorce is not the same as an uncontested divorce.

And that brings us to point of this article; What exactly do the terms contested and uncontested divorce mean?

 


 

DIVORCE FACTS: According to the CDC, each year there are approximately 2.2 million marriages and 1 million divorces.

 


What’s the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce?

 

When someone contests a divorce, they aren’t arguing that the divorce can’t happen. The argument, or contesting, relates to one or more issues that have to be resolved before the divorce can become final. If both parties can agree on all the major issues surrounding the dissolution, then the divorce can proceed as uncontested. However, when a court has to make those decisions, then you have a contested divorce.

What types of issues must a divorcing couple resolve? Children and money top the list.

During a marriage, a couple may acquire an assortment of assets and obligations. When that couple decides to divorce, all their acquisitions and assets have to be split, the spouse who sacrificed his or her career will expect to be compensated, and provisions will have to be made for the couple’s children.

One spouse may have a pension or other retirement savings. The couple may have agreed that one spouse will forego professional gains in order to care for any and all of the above or for the other spouse. Sometimes only one spouse has a life insurance policy or is able to acquire employer-sponsored health insurance for the family.  They may also have children. Who will have custody, which parent will be responsible for support or other costs, and how visitation will be managed must all be resolved. For a divorce to be uncontested, the couple will need to demonstrate to the court that every issue has been worked out.

The benefits of an uncontested divorce.

Coming to an agreement about how to divide, assign, share everything and care for and compensate everyone can be a complicated process.

Couples who work out these details between themselves, often with the help of their lawyers, can file an uncontested divorce.

Instead of investing time and money fighting over assets, debt and support issues in court, spouses prepare joint paperwork demonstrating that the issues have been resolved. Families with children may still be required to participate in hearings and evaluations, but an uncontested petition should reduce the total time spent in court.

Because they tend to be less complicated and take less time to resolve, uncontested divorces are sometimes called simple divorces.
What happens if the couple can’t reach an agreement? Then the divorce becomes contested.

When is a contested divorce necessary?

If there are issues that no amount of negotiation can resolve, one or both spouses will file motions with the court asking the judge to issue a ruling.

Sometimes a couple can’t agree on the value of an asset and each side will call upon an expert to testify on his or her behalf. Maybe the parties can’t agree on which school the children should attend or how much money should be set aside for college. Or, they may not be able to agree on one or both spouse’s contribution to the value of the family business.

Contested divorces can be expensive and time-consuming. In most cases, resorting to litigation will extend the time it takes for a divorce to be concluded. Additionally, a court hearing or trial may create unwanted publicity for spouses who value their privacy.

Unfortunately, sometimes a contested divorce is a necessity. If one spouse is attempting to undervalue assets or avoid obligations, then the court is the place to turn for help. A contested divorce allows each spouse to call witnesses and investigate the details of their marital assets.

 

3 Steps To Take Before Getting A Divorce

When you are preparing for a divorce, if you are not thorough with the specifics, the entire procedure could get complicated and difficult. There will be a stack of paperwork to sort through and numerous claims from your spouse to challenge or refute. It might seem inconceivable that anyone could get through a divorce without losing their hair. If you take three critical steps as you prepare, however, you will find that things can go smoothly and painlessly.

Secure Your Income

Before you even file for a divorce, take a good look at your current financial situation. Are you sitting comfortably due to a hard-earned salary, or are you finding it difficult just to make ends meet? Do you have ample savings and insurance, or barely anything in reserves at all? And, most importantly, how will that all change when you get divorced? By reviewing your income ahead of time, you can plan for child or spousal support options and present a solid case that upholds your best interests. Otherwise, you could find yourself losing your current standard of living and general sense of stability.

Catalogue Your Property

California is a “no-fault” state when it comes to divorces, which means the spouse asking for a divorce does not need to prove the other did something wrong to end the marriage. It also means that if your spouse cheated on you, they won’t necessarily be punished by earning less than half of your shared property. To protect the most valuable pieces of your estate – such as homes, automobiles, heirlooms, and businesses – catalogue them ahead of time to establish what was yours before the marriage and what should remain yours after the divorce.

Retain a Divorce Attorney

More importantly than anything, the moment you begin considering filing for divorce, or as soon as someone hands you divorce papers, seek the professional counsel of a divorce lawyer you can trust. If you are unprepared for some of the complexities that can arise in just about any divorce case, your rights might be overlooked or ignored. When you have an attorney at your side, you know that any surprises will be met with confident, reliable support.

Separation Vs. Divorce

Divorce has an undeniable ring of finality to it that many couples are simply not prepared to accept, at least not yet, and that’s okay. Legal separation is a viable option for those struggling to come to terms with being officially divorced from their spouse.

But before you choose one or the other, you should be aware of the difference between the two and what they’ll mean for your marriage, your property, and your children in the long run. The more informed your decision, the more confident you can feel with the outcome.

The biggest difference between the two is that legal separation does not permanently end your marriage. Whereas divorce is a lasting decree, legal separation is much more temporary and does not include all of the ramifications of a divorce.

Does legal separation have benefits that divorce does not?

This depends on what your end goals are. If you already know that you no longer want to be married to your spouse, then there is generally no reason to prolong the decision by legally separating. However, for those that are still unsure, legal separation is an excellent way to have space from your spouse you need to decide what you really want.

Typically, separations last for a year, but in some cases may go on for longer than this. Couples that decide to get a divorce after their separation can file an amended petition with the court that will alter the papers.

You should also note that a separation does allow you to ask the court for orders regarding child support, alimony, custody, and domestic violence restraining orders.

What Is The Difference Between Military Divorce & Civilian Divorce?

It is important for members of the military, and their spouses, to understand the difference between a military divorce and a civilian divorce. In California, there are a completely different set of local and federal laws that apply to a military divorce as compared to those which apply to a civilian divorce.
Herrig & Vogt, LLP is a Roseville-based legal firm that has been in practice for 20 years. We handle a wide variety of divorce and family law issues, and have years of experience representing clients in both civilian and military divorce cases. We take pride in our commitment to always represent our clients in a manner that is in direct alignment with what is in their best interests. Before you take action to file for a military divorce, contact our firm so that we can review your situation, advise you of your legal rights and help you protect your interests throughout the divorce proceedings.

 

Military Divorce vs. Civilian Divorce: What’s the Difference?

One of the primary differences between a military divorce and a civilian divorce is that a military divorce is governed by both state and federal law. To file for a military divorce in our state, either you or your spouse must either reside here or be stationed here. The courts often give an active duty service member a certain level of protection and relief from the stress of dealing with a long-distance divorce, by allowing the divorce proceedings to be put on hold until 60 days after the service member has completed his or her service. If the service member so wishes, he or she can waive those rights and allow the divorce to proceed. There is no such option in a civilian divorce.

The division of property in a military divorce is done in the same fashion as a civilian divorce. Property is separated into community or marital property and separate property. Community property is divided up as equally as possible between the two spouses and separate property is retained by the spouse who owns it. In a military divorce, a service member’s military pay, health benefits, pension, retirement plan and other benefits will not extend to his or her ex-spouse unless certain requirements have been met. Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), and providing that the couple been married for at least 10 years during a period of time when the service member engaged in creditable service, the military retired pay that service member receives can be divided between the two parties as marital property.

There are also certain instances wherein we may be able to secure a court order on behalf of the spouse of a service member to allow that spouse to receive payments on his or her portion of the service member’s pay, even while the member is active duty military. For an ex-spouse to receive continued medical benefits, health care, commissary and exchange benefits, the couple must have been married at least 20 years, the service member must have at least 20 years of creditable service and there must have been at least a 20-year overlap between the two. In cases where there was only a 15-year overlap, the ex-spouse will still be able to receive benefits, but only for a 1-year period of time

How Long Do I Have to Pay Spousal Support?

What Does CA Family Court Consider to Be a “Long-Term Marriage”?

California law defines a “long-term marriage” as a marriage that is at least 10 years long from the date of marriage to the date of separation. In a long-term marriage, the court will not set a termination date for spousal support. For long-term marriage, the party paying support needs to prove that spousal support is no longer necessary for the supported party.

For a marriage of fewer than 10 years, the law presumes that spousal support will last for half the length of the marriage. To continue support beyond half the length of the marriage, the supported party will need to prove that spousal support is still necessary.

Unless otherwise agreed, spousal support also ends upon the death of either party, the remarriage of the supported party or other order of the court.

Terminating Spousal Support in California

Termination of spousal support, whether it arises from a long or a short-term marriage is not automatic (other than death or remarriage). To terminate support you must bring a motion to the court. Call our office today for a free consult on whether this may be the proper time to bring a motion.

What Is The Difference Between Temporary And Long Term Spousal Support?

Temporary Spousal Support (also called “pendente lite”) can be ordered paid after a petition for dissolution/separation is filed and usually terminated upon the entry of final judgment (when the judge makes your divorce official).

Temporary Spousal Support in California

Temporary Spousal Support, though discretionary, is usually awarded without regards to the merits of the case and is generally determined by formula. For example, Placer County Local Rule 30.3 (B) (effective 7/01/11) says, “In cases where there is no child support, temporary spousal support will be 40% of the net income of the payor minus 50% of the net income of the payee.” Whether you are in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado or any other local county, our office has software to calculate how much temporary spousal support should be.

Permanent / Long-Term Spousal Support in California

Permanant or long term support is generally just referred to as “spousal support” (it used to be called alimony) may not be permanent or may not be long term. Generally, “spousal support” will begin when a judgment for dissolution is ordered by the court. “Spousal Support” ends when the supported party gets married; either party dies, or upon further order of the court. “Spousal support” can be modified or terminated even after an original order is issued.

Call Herrig & Vogt in Roseville, CA for the divorce representation you need!