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Spousal Support / Alimony (11)



In some divorce cases, the court orders one spouse to provide financial support for the other. This is known as alimony. An effective litigator can lower or increase the amount depending on the circumstances. The amount may vary based on the following factors:

  • Marriage length
  • Spouses’ health and age
  • Spouses’ financial resources
  • Debts (if any)
  • Taxes involved in the support

An attorney experienced with spousal support/alimony disputes from the law office of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, will ensure that an accurate record of your marital history will be represented to help determine the rightful amount of spousal support awarded. It’s common practice for spousal support to be contested in the court. This is why having one of our attorneys by your side can make the situation easier. Whether you are the one providing support or are the one who is supported, an attorney’s guidance can make a difference.

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The above articles are aimed at providing information regarding alimony. For any topics or questions not covered, contact one of our attorneys. 

Factors That Can End Or Prevent Alimony Payments

Factors That Can End Or Prevent Alimony Payments

The amount of alimony, or spousal support, a divorce provides for an ex-spouse varies on several factors. The length of the marriage, the ages of the spouses, the reason for the divorce, and the length of separation can all affect how much and how long these payments will be. As with the factors that determine alimony, the following factors can actually prevent it from being granted in some instances.

Signing A Prenuptial Agreement

A prenup stipulates what is to become of a couple’s assets and interests in the event of a divorce. One condition that can be addressed is whether or not one spouse will provide support for the other. If the husband or wife earns significantly more than the other, he/she possibly may have to provide support if the marriage ends. The prenup can prevent this by specifically acknowledging that no alimony will be provided if divorce occurs. In order for the court to respect this decision, both spouses must agree to the stipulation.

Level Of Income

The court may determine an alimony award by taking into account the amount of income each party earns. For example, if a wife is earning a slightly higher salary than her husband, and it is determined that he will most likely not experience difficulty supporting himself after the marriage, the wife may not be required to pay support.

With Regards To Infidelity

In most states, infidelity does not play a role in determining if alimony will be provided. California is one such state. The court may dismiss the need for support if it can be proven that the wronged party is cohabitating with someone else prior to the marriage being nullified, as this could prove that he/she may no longer need financial support according to Section 4343 of the California Family Code.


If the spouse in need of financial support remarries, then alimony payments, by law, will stop. Although there is little the supporting spouse can do in terms of starting or speeding the process of having an ex-spouse remarry, it’s an important fact to keep in mind.

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding alimony or other legal matters pertaining to your divorce, contact a divorce attorney from San Diego’s Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858.935.6211.

Alimony Modification

Alimony Modification

Deciding on spousal support, or alimony, is often one of the most contentious aspects of any divorce. Alimony is a payment made by an individual to his or her ex-spouse in order to help him or her maintain a standard of living that is similar to what he or she enjoyed in the marriage. However, it is important for all individuals to understand that the amount of alimony payments decided upon in a divorce hearing can be changed in some circumstances.

Many people have questions regarding the modification of their alimony payments, and the knowledgeable lawyers at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, are ready to answer your questions.  Contact our San Diego divorce attorneys today at 858-935-6211 for more information.

Modifying Your Alimony Payments

Alimony payments can be either increased or decreased, and in most states, an individual must prove a significant change in his or her situation to be granted an alimony modification.  Alimony can be modified if either party has been injured or disabled and is unable to work, fired or let go from their job, has to pay expensive medical bills, has an unexpected rise in their cost of living, or suddenly comes into more money.  The San Diego alimony attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, can assist you in determining alimony modifications.

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If you need help or have questions regarding alimony payment modifications, our team of lawyers is willing and ready to help.  Contact the San Diego alimony lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

Understanding Temporary Alimony

Understanding Temporary Alimony

Determining alimony payments are a large part of reaching a divorce settlement. Temporary alimony payments are a tool for the disadvantaged partner to receive compensation while the final amount is being agreed upon. The laws regarding temporary alimony payments aim to provide each partner with the ability to maintain their way of life before and after a divorce is finalized. Financial concerns tend to come to the fore in this regard.

The San Diego alimony lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, are well versed in the laws regarding temporary alimony and are prepared to assist you throughout the divorce process. Contact us to 858-935-6211 to speak with a skilled and experienced attorney about your situation and needs.

Determining Temporary Alimony

Payments on bills such as utilities, house payments, and other debts are typically considered when determining temporary alimony. Specific aspects of a couple’s past will also be considered. The following factors are representative of the information that might be weighed in the calculation of temporary alimony:

  • Length of marriage
  • Reasons for divorce
  • Financial assets
  • Living standards
  • Health of couple
  • Reason for need
  • Mortgage and other debts

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Despite the many years a couple spent together that may have been happy and filled with love, divorce proceedings can turn incredibly adversarial in an instant. Money is often a point of particular contention, but it is important that you have the resources necessary to meet living expenses and other necessary costs during a divorce. Contact the San Diego alimony lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, today at 858-935-6211 for legal representation in this matter.

Permanent and Periodic Alimony

Permanent and Periodic Alimony

Permanent alimony is a continued payment after a divorce settlement. Unless an individual remarries, he or she is locked into these payments until death. Permanent alimony is money that is must be paid consistently over time. Conversely, periodic alimony is paid to a former spouse in order to reestablish a life after divorce. It can also be terminated due to remarriage. However, periodic alimony can be changed over time. Amounts and frequencies of payments are adjusted as the financial status of the divorcee varies over time.

To better understand the types of alimony and learn which form might apply in your divorce case, contact the San Diego alimony attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 today.

Determining Factors in Alimony Payments

Alimony payments are based on many different factors. These can include:

  • Salaries
  • Property
  • Physical condition
  • Accumulated debt
  • Marriage length
  • Length of separation

Depending on the individual circumstances of the divorcing couple, some of these factors can hold different weights. Determining alimony payments is a complicated process that involves understanding many different issues in both the marriage and divorce of the couple. Alimony can be paid for long amounts of time and cost a lot of money. It can also be an asset to an individual working through a divorce.

Contact Us

The experienced San Diego alimony attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP are ready to provide the legal help you need. Please contact us today at 858-935-6211 for a free consultation with a legal professional.

Spousal Support

Spousal Support

When determining spousal support in California, there are two main issues to be considered by the court and all parties. One is the amount of support to be awarded and two is the duration of support.

The family courts of California have a lot of discretion when it comes to determining how long a person will have to pay spousal support. As a general rule of thumb which does not have to be followed by the court, marriages of less than ten years will have to have spousal support paid for half the length of the marriage. For marriages of more than ten years, it’s anyone’s guess as to how long the court will decide spousal support is necessary.

Starting in the late 1990s, though, there was a trend among courts for spousal support’s duration to be linked to a transition period from married life to single life. The courts started not liking lifetime support.

In addition to their wide amount of discretion concerning the duration of spousal support, the courts have a lot of say in how much spousal support needs to be paid each month. In an attempt to lessen the court’s discretion, many counties have adopted guidelines that outline acceptable spousal support payments. These are still only guidelines that set a range, not set rules.

There are a variety of statutes for the courts to consider when determining spousal support. They need to consider:

  • The earning capacity of individuals. This is used to determine whether or not the parties will each be able to maintain the standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage.
  • The extent to which the supported spouse contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license for the supporting party. As an example, if the husband footed the entire bill for his wife’s medical school education and then stopped working to stay at home with the kids while his wife worked, that needs to be taken into consideration.
  • The ability of the supporting spouse to pay spousal support
  • The needs of each party as established by the standard of living during the marriage
  • The financial obligations and assets of each party
  • Duration of the marriage

If you are considering a divorce or are in the middle of a fight over spousal support, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel at 858-935-6211.

More In Depth Information

For a more in depth discussion of Spousal Support please review the our discussion of Spousal support at, review our searchable Articles Database as well as our searchable FAQ’s.

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What Is Alimony?

What is Alimony?

Alimony is a fairly old concept designed to make divorce settlements more equitable by protecting the standard-of-living of the lower-earning or non-earning spouse. It takes the form of court-ordered payments from the wealthier or wage-earning spouse to the other spouse. The amount of the payments depends on several factors, including income and living expenses, among others.

Though the doctrine of alimony makes no explicit distinction between the sexes, in practice it has largely been awarded from husbands to wives, simply due to the imbalance between the number of working men and working women. However, because of modern trends towards women in the workforce, more and more husbands are claiming alimony from their divorced wives than ever before. This resulted in a controversy over the allegedly gender-biased word “alimony” and gave rise to the terms “spousal support” and “spousal maintenance.” The meaning of these different terms is identical; their adoption is a reflection of efforts to create a gender-neutral way to refer to alimony.

Like child support, alimony often becomes a hotly contested topic in many divorces, for several reasons. First of all, alimony laws in many states tend to be rather vague and leave decisions mostly up to the discretion of the courts. This has led to vastly different judgments in different courtrooms and complaints from many professionals in the legal industry.

Another issue is the perception of alimony as unfair and unjustified. This dispute typically pits women’s rights advocates against men’s advocacy groups – a throwback to the original tendency of husband-to-wife alimony payments. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that so many types of alimony judgments can be awarded, from those given only on a rehabilitative basis (until the receiving spouse is self-sufficient or remarries, for example) to those awarded for basically a lifetime. Opponents of alimony view it as nothing more than a benefit to “gold-diggers” and free riders.

Are you going through a divorce? Do you need experienced legal counsel? If so, call 858-935-6211 today to speak with a San Diego divorce attorney from Fischer & Van Thiel about your case.

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Calculating Alimony

Calculating Alimony

Alimony is one of those issues that no one really likes to talk about, because it is distilling a broken marriage down to the bare bones. Alimony is the payment provided by one spouse for future support of the other spouse.

However, when a judge hears a case in his or her court room, they must listen to all the facts and help make a judgment of “how much” should be assigned in alimony payments. This “how much” is what everyone wants to know, because it greatly effects the lives of everyone involved.

Alimony is usually calculated in three ways:

1. First, the age of each party and the length of marriage is taken into consideration. If a couple has been together for a long time, they have more shared assets and money that needs to be split up. A couple that has not been together for a very long time is less dependent on one another, so they can start anew more easily. Courts also feel that younger people do not need as large alimony settlements, as they can start fresh more easily.

2. Wrongdoing: If one of the ex-partners has actually committed some wrong that led to the end of the marriage, the court will often take sympathy on the victim. It will reward more money for emotional damage, as well as to punish the wrongdoer.

3. The income of each spouse is considered to make sure that following the divorce, both parties will have enough money to support themselves separately.

Talk to a San Diego Divorce Attorney Today

If you or a loved one is involved in a divorce case and believes that they are eligible for a large alimony payment, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel at 858-935-6211 for legal advice and representation for your case.

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General Information About Alimony

General Information about Alimony

Divorce is a complicated process, involving not only social but also legal ramifications. These include, for example, child support, separation decrees, and possibly even restraining orders. Another thing that divorces often involve is alimony.

Alimony is a simple concept. It is akin to child support, except that it is for spouses. Essentially, alimony payments involve the higher-income spouse paying the lower-income spouse money to help him or her live. Alimony payments are meant to supplement child support payments.

Unlike child support, furthermore, alimony payments are not calculated with a simple formula. To decide how much alimony, if any, one spouse should pay the other, a judge takes many factors into account. For example, he or she will consider the age and health of both spouses; what both spouses are likely to earn in the future; how long a couple has been married; and how both couples have behaved through the divorce process and in the marriage.

Despite the fact that alimony laws vary from state to state, the general theme across the nation is that alimony payments are higher in marriages in which one spouse was financially dependent on the other spouse for a lengthy period of time.

Although it seems that one spouse benefits completely from alimony while the other spouse loses completely, this is not fully accurate. The spouse that pays the alimony payments can deduct those payments from her or his taxes, while the spouse that receives alimony has to pay taxes for alimony received.

Contact a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

Unsurprisingly, alimony is a controversial part of divorce, for no one would want to give her or his hard-earned money to someone with whom they may have a complicated relationship. If you are going through a divorce, having an attorney represent you can help you meet your alimony goals, whether those are receiving alimony payments or not making them. For help, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

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Palimony as a term is a little less common than it was a decade or so ago, but you’ve probably heard about it on entertainment television or in the gossip columns, and may wonder about what it means. Palimony is a term that’s a combination of “pal” and “alimony,” and it signifies an alimony-like payment agreement in which one former romantic partner pays the other former partner as a result of promises made during the relationship.

If you’re still wondering what it means, imagine this: you’re a man who’s been in a long-term relationship with a woman. You’ve lived together, but you’ve never been married. You have, however, made certain promises to this woman about how you’ll provide for her for the rest of your lives. You may even hold yourselves out to be husband and wife, but never actually get married. If you break up, the woman may be able to sue you because your broke this promise.

Naturally, it’s hard to actually prove this, since there’s usually no real contract in place. While marriage itself serves as a contract, an oral agreement not witnessed by anyone except two unmarried people is probably not going to hold up in court. Many courts treat the situation like a common law marriage, which in California mean that you leave the relationship with legal rights only to what you brought into it.

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If you are owed money promised to you during the course of a long-term relationship, you will need an experienced lawyer to represent you. To find out more about your legal rights to communal property, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211 today.

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Taxing Alimony

Taxing Alimony

According to US law, alimony is taxable. Payments must be included in the recipient’s gross income, although they can be excluded from the payer’s gross income. The IRS allows the payer to write off any alimony paid as a tax deduction.

To learn more about alimony, call the experienced San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP today at 858-935-6211.Let us put our years of family law experience to work for you.

What Defines Alimony?

According to the IRS, alimony is defined by the following six criteria:

  • The payment is in cash
  • You and your spouse file separate tax returns
  • The divorce papers fail to specifically define the payments as not being alimony
  • You and your spouse do not share a residence
  • There is no obligation to continue payments after your spouse’s death
  • The payment is not considered child support

Child support is not deductable. Noncash settlements (such as property) are not considered alimony, nor are payments which are not required by the terms of the divorce settlement. It is not required to itemize deductions in the case of alimony payments.

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If you have any questions about alimony or its tax status, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211.

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