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Divorce Lawyer Explains Alimony Initiative

Software Consultant Launches Campaign to End Alimony in California

Orange County software consultant Steve Clark has had enough of the alimony system in California. He has launched a campaign to bring an end to a court’s ability to award and enforce alimony on spouses.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla granted Clark, executive director of the Huntington Beach-based organization CalAlimonyReform.org, permission to gather signatures in an effort to get this initiative on the November 2016 ballot. The group must gather 365,880 signatures from registered voters – 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election – by Nov. 2, according to a Patch.com article.

As an Encinitas divorce lawyer with clients who occasionally seek alimony from their spouses, as well as clients who fight against having to pay alimony, I can see both sides of this argument. Rather than pick a side, let’s examine the benefits and pitfalls of alimony – also known as spousal support.

Advantages of Alimony

For the payer:

  • Although it may hurt to cut an alimony check to your former spouse every month, there is some consolation in the fact that alimony payments can be tax deductible. This includes payments you make on your former spouse’s life insurance premiums that you may be court-ordered to pay. Making alimony payments sometimes offer more tax savings than the actual value of the payment.
  • Alimony sometimes comes with a court-ordered end date. Let’s say your spouse stayed home and raised children while you two were married, but wants to return to school and enter the workforce now that you’re divorcing. A divorce agreement could include alimony while your spouse completes a college degree or training program, and ends once gainful employment is secured.

For the payee:

  • This money can be of great assistance to you if you are at an income, medical care and employability disadvantage to your spouse. It can enable you to live quality of life comparable to what you were accustomed to when you were married.
  • Sometimes your alimony can be worth more than your divorce assets, so it could pay to be flexible in how those assets are divided.

Disadvantages of Alimony

  • It’s obviously cheaper for two people to maintain one household than to maintain two. Divorced spouses are likely to each have their own rent/mortgage payments and monthly living expenses, and it can be tough to pay your own expenses while also having to contribute to those of your ex spouse.
  • Your alimony payments to your former spouse could be permanent if you were in a long-term marriage and your spouse was a full-time homemaker throughout the marriage.
  • If you marry someone who is ordered to pay alimony to a former spouse, part of your income feasibly could go to your spouse’s ex. Think about it: you likely have consolidated your finances. Unless modified in court, your spouse owes that alimony, regardless of whether your spouse loses a job or takes a pay cut. So the money has to come from somewhere.

Figuring out alimony can be challenging, but we are here to help you. Regardless of whether you seek alimony from a soon-to-be ex, or you anticipate that you may be pursued for alimony in court, our experienced attorneys can offer sound advice.

Please call today for a consultation.