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Newark Family And Estate Law Blog

Those who are facing a divorce may have concerns regarding their transition to single life. If a married couple each has drastically different income levels, one of them may qualify to receive spousal support.

Spousal support is a complex issue and the courts will consider several factors to determine if who is eligible. Additionally, there are many different types of spousal support in California. Most are temporary, but permanent alimony may be appropriate in certain situations.

Different types of spousal support

According to FindLaw, the following list includes different types of spousal support available in California:

         Temporary support is payment from one spouse to another, before finalization of an order

         Lump-sum alimony replaces traditional payments with a lump-sum which is meant to replace a property settlement

         Rehabilitative alimony includes regular payments to one spouse until he or she becomes self-supporting

         Reimbursement alimony pays for one spouse’s expenses, such as tuition, while he or she attempts to become self-supporting

         Permanent alimony continues until the paying spouse dies or the receiving spouse remarries

Factors courts consider during an alimony ruling

According to the California Courts website, a judge does not utilize a formula to determine eligibility for spousal support. Instead, the judge will consider several factors, some of which include the following:

         The length of the marriage

         What each spouse needs to maintain his or her current standard of living

         Monetary and non-monetary contributions of each spouse to the marriage

         Whether one spouse paid for the other’s education or career path

Additionally, the courts may determine that one spouse should receive alimony simply because it would be an undue hardship to seek employment while raising children.

It is a common misconception that estate planning is only beneficial to people who have large assets. The truth is that estate planning is beneficial to everyone. Most people own at least one valuable item. This can include a house, vehicle or even simply bank accounts. Without proper estate planning, those assets may not go to the people you want them to go to.

Understanding the importance of estate planning is only part of the process. If you are not careful, you can make costly mistakes with unintended consequences. Avoid these mistakes while setting up your affairs.

Failing to update your estate plan

According to FindLaw, a common mistake that many people make while planning an estate is failing to update the plan when changes occur. It is important to review your estate plan regularly in order to reflect changes that happen in your life.

Failing to plan for long-term care

Many people fail to plan for long-term care or an unforeseen disability. This can expose you to financial risk in the future. It is important to make designations for such a situation as soon as possible, even if you think it will never happen.

Establishing ownership as opposed to inheritance

Some people think it is a good idea to put their children on the deed of their house or vehicle while they are still alive. This may result in the Internal Revenue Service viewing the addition as a gift, instead of as an inheritance. This is important because it determines how much tax liability passes on to your children.

The importance of proper estate planning cannot be understated in terms of how it will affect your loved ones after you are gone.

In any legal form you fill out, a mistake can have dire consequences, and divorce papers are no different. According to the California Courts, you will get your forms back from the court clerk if there is missing or incorrect information. You may even need to schedule a court hearing to talk to the judge about it. 

Here are some of the reasons the court sends judgment papers back to the filers. 

Missing property or debt information

If you did not list property or debts on your property declaration form but you included in on your Judgment form, the court will send them back to you. The exception is if you noted on the Judgment form that you did not know about the debts when you filed the property declaration form or the divorce petition, or that you did not have a current value for the assets you listed. 

Unfair property division agreement

A court will not accept judgment papers if the property division is obviously unfair or one-sided. For example, if your spouse is keeping the house and the retirement accounts and you are keeping the car, a judge may want to know why you have so few assets compared to your spouse. A judge is likely to reject any agreement that leaves one spouse dependent on government assistance if there is enough property or income to provide the support. 

Incomplete income information

The court considers many sources of income when calculating child and spousal support, and you must list all of these on the form. Leaving out financial information can create worse issues than a returned form. If you do not provide full disclosure, a judge may set aside a previously approved agreement and reopen the case later. 

Understanding all the information the court requires can be key for an easier divorce process.