Alimony & Spousal Support In High Net-Worth Divorce

In California, divorcing couples who have $1 million or more in assets divorces are considered high net worth. Dissolving a high net-worth marriage requires a divorce lawyer specializing in protecting their clients’ financial future.

Often, alimony and spousal support are applicable following a divorce. Each situation is different, but some things are essential for you to know. Whether you are requesting spousal support or providing it, having guidance from an experienced attorney is the best way to protect yourself.

How Does Spousal Support Work in California?

Alimony, often called spousal support, is often awarded when a couple separates or divorces. In California, there are a number of issues that the court will look to when determining appropriate spousal support in a high-asset divorce.

California Family Code § 4320 provides a set of factors the court will look to when making decisions about spousal support. Each partner’s earning capacity is reviewed to ensure that they can both continue to experience the standard of living they became accustomed to during the marriage. Below are some of the things the court is taking into account:

  • Marketable skills that the party being supported may possess are closely scrutinized. The court will look at the job market as it applies to those particular skills and the time and expense it would take for the supported party to gain education or appropriate training to develop career skills for marketable employment.
  • If the supported spouse took time away from building their career to support the marriage through domestic duties, the court would investigate how those long periods without a career impacted their present and future earning potential.
  • The court will consider how the party requesting support contributed to their partner’s education, career position, job accreditation, or licensing.
  • The supporting party’s ability to pay spousal support is considered, including their earning potential, income earned or unearned income, assets, and the standard of living they are accustomed to.
  • The court will question what each party needs based on the standard of living they enjoyed during their marriage.
  • Obligations and assets, including the spouses’ separate property, will be considered.
  • Another factor that will be considered is the marriage’s duration.
  • Also considered by the court is the supported party’s ability to participate in gainful employment without it interfering with the care of the dependent children in that party’s custody.
  • Yet another factor to be considered is the age and the health of each party.
  • Any documented evidence of domestic violence will also be brought to light when deciding how spousal support should be provided.
  • Specific tax consequences to each spouse will also be reviewed.

There are other factors that the judge may consider at their discretion. Marital support in high net-worth divorces is often awarded to the supported spouse with the expectation that they will become self-supporting within a designated amount of time. A rule of thumb is one-half the length of the marriage.

So, for a ten-year marriage, spousal support may be ordered for five years, assuming the supported party will have found a way to provide for themselves in the manner they are accustomed to.

Contact Martin Family Law Group for Answers to Your Questions About Spousal Support

Divorces are challenging. Financial instability is frightening. Experienced legal counsel is imperative. Reach out to Martin Family Law Group to ensure you are fairly represented, and your assets are protected if you are facing a high net-worth divorce. We understand the importance of evaluating your assets, determining what you are entitled to, and then fighting to protect you as the divorce unfolds. Reach out today to see what we can do for you.