Seeking Legal Help for Alimony Payments? Contact Our Attorneys
Combining your income and assets through marriage may seem like a good idea when you’re in love. However, when things fall apart, no matter the cause, you can easily end up paying your spouse monthly payments for decades.
Monthly payments that one spouse has to pay to another after they divorce are referred to as alimony payments or spousal support. Lawyers for alimony in Los Angeles are needed to ensure that you are treated fairly in family court and that you don’t end up paying more than you can handle.
Spousal support is put in place to give financial assistance to the lower-earning or unemployed spouse, and its amount is determined based on each spouse's financial circumstances. Most kinds of alimony have an exact termination date, which most divorcees can’t wait to arrive. Unlike child support payments, which end when the child is legally an adult, spousal support payments typically last for half as many years as the marriage did.
Couples who make a prenuptial agreement often include a provision detailing how long spousal support payments will last. If the ex-couple did not make a prenuptial agreement or their agreement did not have a particular termination date, then alimony payments will end according to state law.
You may feel trapped in your alimony payments in Los Angeles, but you can seek out a Los Angeles alimony attorney for options to adjust these payments if need be. You may even be able to stop paying spousal support altogether depending on how the circumstances have changed since your divorce.
Lowering Alimony Payments in California
Many divorce settlements have a clause about modifying, or rather not modifying, spousal support payments. If time goes by and you want to change the size of your spousal support payments, you should first look to what your settlement agreement says.
If your settlement does not mention the modification of alimony payments, you should reach out to your ex to see if they are open to discussing the change. After all, they should be more financially stable in present-day than they were when the divorce first happened.
If you can't reach an agreement, then you'll have to work with a lawyer for family issues to ask a judge to modify spousal support, and your state's law will control the matter. Most states will allow you to lower the payments if there's a significant change of circumstances.
If your financial situation has been damaged by the coronavirus pandemic, California courts have passed emergency rule 13, which allows you to adjust your alimony amount easily. It also allows judges to backdate requests so that payments can be lowered faster.
Stopping Alimony Payments in California
California allows some circumstances where you can stop paying alimony altogether.
If your spouse’s income has increased dramatically, you could argue that they no longer need your alimony payments. For example, if your spouse got promoted to a c-level position, the courts may find that your monthly payments pale in comparison to their new salary, thus terminating your need to financially support them.
The same idea exists if the supported spouse experiences a significant lifestyle or financial change. A news story made national headlines recently as a man who was receiving alimony from his ex-wife won the lottery. He became a multi-millionaire overnight, and his wife was able to convince the courts to terminate her spousal support order.
A decrease in the supporting spouse’s income. This should be due to a circumstance out of the supporting spouse’s control, such as a layoff or a long-term medical condition. The supporting spouse cannot deliberately decrease their income to avoid alimony. However, the supporting spouse may retire if he/she is over age 65, even if it means he/she will need to terminate spousal support.
In the years following your split, it’s possible that your ex-spouse finds someone new and begins to progress that relationship. Alimony payments can be terminated if the supported spouse moves in with a romantic partner or gets married.
Lump Sum Payments
While it may not first come to mind, you can plan for potential future financial hardship during your divorce process. If you can afford it, you can try to pay all of your alimony in one lump sum. However, in order to qualify for this kind of payment, both your spouse and the courts will likely need to approve the lump sum payment.
Many agree to lump sum payments because it prevents the possibility of discord over the alimony payments in the future. It also gives the spouse the opportunity to invest the money and get more overtime.
However, you need to consider the tax consequences of a lump sum payment. For the supported spouse, their annual taxes will reflect the full amount, and this can deter many people.
Whichever method you choose to try to adjust your spousal support payment amounts, you should consult with an attorney for family issues to help you determine the best course of action. All of these options come with their pros and cons, so it’s important to consider all of them before confronting your ex. The money you spend to hire a civil litigation expert will be pennies compared to the amount you can save!
About Our Firm
The Law Offices of Nigel Burns is a law firm for family issues, like those surrounding marriage, divorce, and adoption. These are personal matters, so it’s natural to become emotionally invested in your civil lawsuit; our attorneys can handle the legal process to minimize any stress that you may feel. Our attorneys are experts in civil litigation, ensuring that your lawsuit brings you the most favorable results. Our attorneys can help litigate:
- Restraining orders
- Child support
- Child custody
- Property division
- Trust and probate litigation
Our attorneys can also help you pursue compensation if you were in an accident and need to sue for damages. If you suffered a car wreck, bike accident, or were hit by a car as a pedestrian, we can get your personal injury lawsuit started. Our offices are located across greater Los Angeles, so accessibility shouldn’t be a problem. We’re also offering virtual services due to COVID-19. To see our full list of contact options, click here.