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CA divorce lawyerAfter years of supporting your wealthy spouse with their business or career, by taking care of the children, or by homemaking, by initially paying for their education or providing them the capital necessary to get started, or by doing all of the above and more, it probably seems unjust that your soon-to-be-ex-spouse wants to sever the marriage without so much as a fair alimony agreement.

The new tax law, which erases the ability to deduct alimony payments from taxes, may actually spur wealthy spouses to ask for a divorce very soon, as there are only a few months left before it goes into effect. Under the old and current law, the paying spouse could deduct their alimony payments from their taxes and those who sign alimony agreements before January 1st, 2019 will still be able to take advantage of this annual deduction in the years to come. Those who do not will be stuck with paying alimony without the tax write off. For spouses already considering divorce, this may be the last straw that breaks the marriage’s back. If your husband or wife has filed for divorce, you need to contact a San Jose alimony attorney immediately.

What Is Spousal Support and How Is It Determined?

Spouses, particularly well-off spouses, have an obligation to provide financial support, called spousal support or alimony, in a variety of situations. This money can be in addition to child support payments, which are used to provide for the child. Spousal support is used to benefit the lower-earning spouse with the following:

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Posted on in Divorce

CA divorce lawyerAccording to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, 50 percent of retirees will run out of funds before during retirement. For many, this means that they will have to rely on family, go back to work, sell their home, or apply for government assistance. None of these options is ideal, and having to pay costly spousal support is one way to quickly drain your retirement funds, putting you at risk of falling short in your latest, most vulnerable years. Similarly, if you are receiving alimony and can no longer work due to advanced age or forced retirement, it is in your best interest to request a modification for an increase in spousal support. A San Jose spousal support modification attorney can modify your alimony payments to more accurately reflect your new financial situation whether you are the receiving or paying spouse.

Retirement Must Precede the Modification Request

Alimony (spousal support) can be modified whenever there is a substantial, continued change in circumstances for either party. This goes both ways; the paying spouse can request a modification if the receiving spouse’s income rises dramatically, and the receiving spouse can request a modification if the paying spouse’s salary increases. But how does retirement fit into this? As the paying spouse, the modification request must be made after retirement, not before or even the week before. A modification request needs to be in reaction to changes in circumstances (your retirement) that have already occurred, not for something that is expected to take place in the future.

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Posted on in Divorce

CA divorce lawyerWhether the spousal support that you pay or receive is temporary, rehabilitative, or permanent, no judgment is completely set in stone. Circumstances for either party may change, warranting a change in spousal support amount or duration. According to California law, one or both spouses or domestic partners must show that there has been a "change in circumstances" in order for court-ordered spousal support to be modified. An experienced San Jose spousal support attorney can help you accomplish your goals, whether you are receiving spousal support (alimony) or you are required to provide spousal support as the predominant earner in your former relationship.

Reasons for Modifying Spousal Support/Alimony

There are many reasons why one or the other party would want to or need to change the spousal support order, and most have to do with changes in financial circumstances. The following are reasons why the paying spouse or partner could change their spousal support order:

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California divorce attorney, California high asset divorceWhen determining how much spousal support should be awarded, particularly in high-asset divorces, courts look at the divorcing couples Marital Standard of Living (MSOL). This is the quality of life that the couple shared through the marriage. The MSOL is also used to help determine how long the spousal support should be paid.  

Other factors are also used to determine the amount of spousal support, especially if the income stream that flowed through the marriage is higher than the MSOL of the couple. For example, if the couple had a high income but put most of the funds in savings, the court could decide that the spouse receiving the support is still entitled to receive that savings amount every month through spousal support payments.

There are several different ways to help calculate spousal support amounts, which are then used for negotiations between the spouses and their attorneys. One way is through computer software programs. There are multiple companies that market that have developed and market these programs. A California case demonstrates that hiring a forensic accountant to help determine the MSOL could be a more accurate method.

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