When couples in California divorce, the issue of alimony is often a significant consideration. Traditionally, men have assumed responsibility for paying alimony to a former spouse. Despite an increased influx of women into the workforce, spousal support is still typically paid by men to women, not the other way around.
Estranged California couples whose divorces involve either the payment of or the receipt of alimony need to be aware of how the IRS views the payments. The IRS allows people who are ordered to pay alimony to deduct the payments on their federal income tax returns. Conversely, those who receive alimony payments must report them as income.
Under a number of different circumstances, judges in California will modify or end spousal support orders, but ex-spouses need to go through an extensive legal process to ensure that the changes become official through the court system. Even if ex-spouses can agree on a modified amount of alimony, they will still want to have legal papers drawn up and have a judge sign them instead of just relying on an oral or informal written agreement.
California couples who are contemplating divorce may wish to learn about spousal support. Generally, an individual who earns more money is required to pay support to a former partner. This may be done to allow the dependent former spouse to pursue education or training they lack due to a decision to forego a career and care for children or the marital home. An alternative reason is to allow the spouse to maintain his or her standard of living.
In some situations, circumstances change in a manner significant enough to necessitate a change in a previously-issued spousal support order in California divorce cases. In some situations, a party's income may have significantly changed. In others, a former spouse who is receiving support payments may have remarried or no longer needs the support for other reasons. In still other cases, the party receiving payments may have not made any efforts towards becoming self-supporting.
When going through a divorce in California, a couple can come to an agreement about alimony or a court can make a ruling. Spousal support may go to the spouse that makes less income or who is the primary parent, and in general it is used to lessen the negative economic effects resulting from a divorce. This allows the recipient to continue to retain his or her standard of living after a divorce.