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  1. #1
    guitarjeff is offline Junior Member
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    Pay her Alimony for life after 10 years of marriage

    My state is California. I am presently going through divorce, my marriage was for 16 years. My Attorney told me that marriage in CA that is up to 10 years you will pay 1/2 time of marriage for Alimony. If marriage is after 10 years you will have to pay her Alimony for life, that is unless she gets remarried, is there any truth to this? What if she never remarries will I be stuck paying Alimony for life? What if she gets a job and gets raises on her pay will this matter or if she inherits money will this change monthly Alimony payments?

    Would appreciate any comments, thanks!What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
  2. #2
    Proserpina is offline Senior Member
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    There is NOTHING in the CA code stating that after 10 years a spouse will automatically be entitled to lifetime alimony.

    Now with that said..

    What is she capable of earning?

    What do you earn?
  3. #3
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proserpina View Post
    There is NOTHING in the CA code stating that after 10 years a spouse will automatically be entitled to lifetime alimony.

    Now with that said..

    What is she capable of earning?

    What do you earn?
    And what are the ages?

    Lifetime alimony after a 16 year marriage would not be the common case, even in CA unless there were extenuating circumstances. I think I'd be rethinking my choice of attorney- or at least asking some questions. Maybe he's just trying to paint a worst case scenario.

    This site gives some info on spousal support in CA.
    [url]http://www.familylawsoftware.com/splitgen/sp/ca/alimony.htm[/url]
    Last edited by mistoffolees; 09-14-2010 at 08:06 AM.
  4. #4
    CourtClerk is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proserpina View Post
    There is NOTHING in the CA code stating that after 10 years a spouse will automatically be entitled to lifetime alimony.
    However, there USED to be something in CA law that states it.

    Now, all the FC says is that the court reserves the right to retain jurisdiction over the issue or partner/spousal support indefinitely where there is a long term marriage...

    and long term marriages are considered 10 years or more (and in some extenuating circumstances, less than 10 years).
  5. #5
    guitarjeff is offline Junior Member
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    Alimony for life

    My earnings are $80-$90,000 a year. She is not working at present time. We had her evaluated with a vocational educator specialist and his report was she is capable of earning $8.00 to $10.00 per hour. I have 2 kids, twins at 13 years old.
  6. #6
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarjeff View Post
    My earnings are $80-$90,000 a year. She is not working at present time. We had her evaluated with a vocational educator specialist and his report was she is capable of earning $8.00 to $10.00 per hour. I have 2 kids, twins at 13 years old.
    So, that means she is capable of earning 16,900 to 20,800 per year, to your 80-90k...that is a pretty huge income differential.

    What would be ideal for you is if she got an education during the period of time that you were paying alimony, so that she would be able to support herself at a reasonable level after a while.

    I would be really tempted to stay married until you can put her through school.
    Last edited by LdiJ; 09-14-2010 at 02:43 PM.
  7. #7
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    So, that means she is capable of earning 16,900 to 20,800 per year, to your 80-90k...that is a pretty huge income differential.

    What would be ideal for you is if she got an education during the period of time that you were paying alimony, so that she would be able to support herself at a reasonable level after a while.

    I would be really tempted to stay married until you can put her through school.
    And then he'd be paying alimony based on a 20 year marriage rather than 16. PLUS her having access to 100% of his income for the next 4 years instead of just paying alimony.

    And that even assumes that she's willing and able to go to school. If a vocational specialist said that she's able to earn $8-10 per hour, she's probably not college material, anyway. $8.00 is minimum wage in CA.

    OP, you still need to answer the question about your ages. There's a big difference between lifetime alimony at age 35 and at age 65.
  8. #8
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mistoffolees View Post
    And then he'd be paying alimony based on a 20 year marriage rather than 16. PLUS her having access to 100% of his income for the next 4 years instead of just paying alimony.
    That's a valid point, but I was thinking that it might be cheaper in the long run, because child support would not be an issue on top of alimony for that period of time, and it would be one household rather than two.

    And that even assumes that she's willing and able to go to school. If a vocational specialist said that she's able to earn $8-10 per hour, she's probably not college material, anyway. $8.00 is minimum wage in CA.
    I think that the vocational specialists based it on what someone can earn without any further schooling. However, I admit that I might be wrong about that.

    OP, you still need to answer the question about your ages. There's a big difference between lifetime alimony at age 35 and at age 65.
    That is very true, he does need to answer that question. It makes a difference as well in whether or not additional schooling can be a viable option.
  9. #9
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarjeff View Post
    My earnings are $80-$90,000 a year. She is not working at present time. We had her evaluated with a vocational educator specialist and his report was she is capable of earning $8.00 to $10.00 per hour. I have 2 kids, twins at 13 years old.
    That's all she's capable of earning NOW. How old is she?

    I sure hate to have someone say that just because one was a mom for 16 years, that implies she's brain fried and incapable of moving beyond minimum wage. It's pretty gender insulting, considering how many women started new careers after 40. (Had an aunt who was a sahp to four kids, 20 years at home, then went to Law School and is a practicing attorney today in her 60s.) Depending on alimony is a TERRIBLE plan to make for anyone. Ex spouses health and continued earning capability just cannot be predicted, being capable of independence makes more sense for an able bodied woman of reasonable years.. I learned a new career after 50, surely a younger woman can at least do that.
    Last edited by nextwife; 09-14-2010 at 06:01 PM.
  10. #10
    guitarjeff is offline Junior Member
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    I am 47 and she is 47 years old. She has worked part and full time on and off and has had various jobs through out our marriage. The longest she worked was maybe 1 year with a job and would quit. She has also had some college, but never would apply anything and work meaningless low paying jobs.
  11. #11
    Tex78704 is offline Member
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    Unfortunately, the way the CA Family Code is written on spousal support, there is no way to reliably predict how long and how much your support will be. It all depends upon the judge, and the law is such that whatever the judge decides, will be very difficult (for either party) to overturn on appeal.

    Given your situation, it's reasonable to assume for now you will pay at least eight years of spousal support, which is half the length of your marriage, and which in CA is the presumption of what is "reasonable for a short-term marriage". But the scary part is it does not specify what is "reasonable for a long term marriage" such as yours. And that would presumably be somewhere between half the length of the marriage and a lifetime.

    However, if your attorney is suggesting you will pay lifetime support, I would seriously consider hiring another attorney who will be a much stronger advocate for less support. But it is also entirely possible your attorney knows how your judge is inclined to rule in cases similar to yours.

    As far as alimony is concerned, it is much better (for the payor) to get divorced in states like Texas, which somehwat arbitrarily caps support at three years max.

    However, CA does allow the court to maintain jurisdiction to later modify the terms of the support for changes in circumstances.

    California Family Code Section 4320

    In ordering spousal support under this part, the court shall consider all of the following circumstances:

    (a)The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account all of the following:

    (1)The marketable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment.

    (2)The extent to which the supported party's present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party to devote time to domestic duties.

    (b)The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party.

    (c)The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party's earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living.

    (d)The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage.

    (e)The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party.

    (f)The duration of the marriage.

    (g)The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party.

    (h)The age and health of the parties.

    (i)Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, between the parties, including, but not limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated against the supported party by the supporting party, and consideration of any history of violence against the supporting party by the supported party.

    (j)The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party.

    (k)The balance of the hardships to each party.

    (l)The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a marriage of long duration as described in Section 4336, a "reasonable period of time" for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage. However, nothing in this section is intended to limit the court's discretion to order support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors listed in this section, Section 4336, and the circumstances of the parties.

    (m)The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award in accordance with Section 4325.

    (n)Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.
    Last edited by Tex78704; 09-14-2010 at 09:28 PM.
  12. #12
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tex78704 View Post
    However, if your attorney is suggesting you will pay lifetime support, I would seriously consider hiring another attorney who will be a much stronger advocate for less support. But it is also entirely possible your attorney knows how your judge is inclined to rule in cases similar to yours.
    I would certainly at least consult with another attorney. At their age, he could be paying alimony for twice the length of the marriage - which is not reasonable.

    Apparently, there is a spousal support calculator in CA which might help. Google 'alimony calculator california'. One link is:
    [url=http://alimonyformula.com/]Alimony Calculator, Divorce Spousal Support, Divorce Attorneys, Massachusetts[/url]

    I agree with Nextwife, as well. A 47 year old is capable of improving her situation. The evaluator basically said that she's not capable of anything above minimum wage. That's not reasonable, either. Minimum wage is fine for high school kids, but anyone with any drive can do much better.
  13. #13
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarjeff View Post
    I am 47 and she is 47 years old. She has worked part and full time on and off and has had various jobs through out our marriage. The longest she worked was maybe 1 year with a job and would quit. She has also had some college, but never would apply anything and work meaningless low paying jobs.
    My rule of thumb on education is that if you can get the degree, AND pay off the student loans before retirement, and get at least 10 solid years of decent social security credits, its viable financially. If you cannot pay off the student loans before retirement, then its not going to help.

    If she can get into college right away, and some of her previous college credits transfer and/or are still viable, she is right on the cusp of it being financially viable.

    I still think that I would be considering staying married until I could get her educated and trained for a career. The child would be aged out or within a short time of aging out for child support by then and far less alimony would be likely if she were trained for a viable career.
  14. #14
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    My rule of thumb on education is that if you can get the degree, AND pay off the student loans before retirement, and get at least 10 solid years of decent social security credits, its viable financially. If you cannot pay off the student loans before retirement, then its not going to help.

    If she can get into college right away, and some of her previous college credits transfer and/or are still viable, she is right on the cusp of it being financially viable.

    I still think that I would be considering staying married until I could get her educated and trained for a career. The child would be aged out or within a short time of aging out for child support by then and far less alimony would be likely if she were trained for a viable career.
    Believe it or not, there are many skilled jobs one can learn without college (maybe a couple of years at a technical school) that can earn a very sustainable income. I see loan applications every day in my work, and I see what incomes people are earning, and a great many non college educated folks have very nice incomes. One should factor the costs of a full college education against the remaining earning years to see which makes sense.
  15. #15
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by nextwife View Post
    Believe it or not, there are many skilled jobs one can learn without college (maybe a couple of years at a technical school) that can earn a very sustainable income. I see loan applications every day in my work, and I see what incomes people are earning, and a great many non college educated folks have very nice incomes. One should factor the costs of a full college education against the remaining earning years to see which makes sense.
    I agree. We have a lot of people without college educations making $25 per hour - or more.

    And that's not even getting into things like interior decorators, artists, etc where income can be into 4 figures PER DAY.

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