Huntington Beach Spousal Support Lawyer

Huntington Beach Spousal Support Lawyer

Huntington Beach Spousal Support Attorney

Couples facing a divorce will have the challenging task of negotiating several emotionally draining but necessary and impactful terms as part of their divorce resolution agreement. Spousal support represents a significant and potentially long-term agreement with terms that should be fair and reasonable. Working with a Huntington Beach spousal support lawyer is essential to making sure that the outcome of these terms is favorable, whether you are the paying spouse or the receiving spouse.

Huntington Beach Spousal Support Lawyer

Spousal Support Representation in Huntington Beach, CA

Our attorneys at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, have been working with clients facing divorce for many years, helping them to resolve a wide range of family law matters, including spousal support agreements. We understand that individuals stand to lose more than they would save if they forewent hiring an attorney to assist them in negotiating the terms of their spousal support agreement.

For this reason, we work diligently to prepare an individualized strategy and use our negotiation and litigation experience to achieve a favorable outcome in every case. We represent those who are entitled to receive spousal support, ensuring they are awarded an agreement with fair terms that represent the full extent of what they are owed.

We also represent payor spouses, protecting them against unfair support orders and working to minimize the duration and the amount of financial obligation imposed on them.

To discuss the details of your Huntington Beach, CA case, reach out to our team at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, for a consultation. We can review your circumstances and answer questions you may have regarding further proceedings.

What Is the Purpose of Spousal Support?

California family law seeks to ensure that no individual facing a dissolution of marriage will be disproportionately impacted as a result of the divorce. As a consequence, spousal support, also known as alimony, is intended to help maintain the quality of life and standard of living previously enjoyed in the marriage.

Determining the terms of this support is open to quite a bit of legal flexibility, however. For example, unlike child support agreements, which are set by the court and are based on income, spousal support agreements are subject to negotiation and are more directly affected by the quality of an individual’s legal representation. Your spousal support lawyer can have a significant impact on your subsequent financial security through effective resolution techniques.

How Is Spousal Support Determined?

Generally, courts will impose spousal support agreements that review the circumstances of both spouses and take the following factors into consideration:

  • Financial capacity and need. The earning capacity of each spouse, the ability to maintain the same standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, the supporting spouse’s ability to pay the alimony, and the extent of the needs of the supported spouse will all impact the support determination.
  • Duration of the marriage. How long the marriage lasted will significantly impact the duration of the support obligation, with shorter marriages resulting in more temporary agreements and marriages that lasted over a decade typically having indefinite timelines.
  • Age and health of each spouse. Each spouse’s physical and emotional health and age can affect the outcome of the agreement by demonstrating long-term earning potential and future needs. More broadly, this information concerns a spouse’s potential to become self-sufficient.

There are other factors that can potentially impact the outcome of the spousal support agreement, such as criminal history, abusive behavior, or contributions made during the marriage to the other’s career, education, training, or other investment to their earning potential. These factors are all unique to each case and will combine to establish a basis by which a spousal support agreement can be made.

Can an Existing Spousal Support Order Be Modified?

Whether you are a paying or receiving spouse, it is important to understand that modifications can be made to existing spousal support orders under certain circumstances. If either party experiences a significant change in their financial situation, such as an increase or decrease in income, a lost job, or an increase or decrease in material needs, this could justify the need for a court modification.

To modify an existing spousal support order, the party seeking the change must file a motion with the appropriate court, providing substantial evidence to justify the modification. Working with your spousal support attorney is imperative when seeking modification, as they can help you gather and present this material and argue on your behalf.

Modifications can either be temporary or permanent, depending on your circumstances. For example, if you recently lost your job and are temporarily unable to make support payments, the court can grant you a temporary reprieve while you seek new employment.

Once your income returns to normal, you will be expected to resume support payments. However, if a circumstance beyond you or your ex-spouse’s control permanently changes either person’s needs or ability to support, the court may grant a change to the order indefinitely.

Can a Spousal Support Order Be Terminated?

In addition to modification, a spousal support order can also be permanently terminated under certain circumstances. The following represents some of the most common reasons for ending a spousal support agreement:

  • Pre-existing duration terms. In most cases, a spousal support agreement already has a fixed end date outlining the duration for which the paying spouse will be obligated to provide support. Through the modification process, this duration can be adjusted, thereby terminating a support agreement at an earlier time.
  • If the spouse receiving the support legally remarries, any existing spousal support agreement will be automatically terminated in almost every case. The court presumes the financial responsibility to fall on the new spouse, relieving that individual’s ex-spouse of all financial obligations.
  • In some cases, a couple may choose not to marry, whether to attempt to remain eligible for spousal support or for other reasons. When the recipient spouse cohabitates with a partner, the paying spouse can petition the court for a modification or termination of the support agreement under the presumption that the cohabitating relationship reduces their financial needs.
  • If the paying spouse enters retirement, leading to a significant decrease in income, they may be able to petition for spousal support modification or termination.
  • Spousal support automatically ends upon the death of either the payer or the recipient.

Spousal Payment FAQs

Q: What Percentage Is Spousal Support in California?

A: The exact percentage that one party will owe in spousal support will typically vary with each case. However, California does follow a general formula that functions as a guideline in which a percentage of the receiving spouse’s income, such as 50%, is subtracted from a percentage of the paying spouse’s monthly income. The actual calculation considers several factors, such as the standard of living established during the marriage and each spouse’s financial situation.

Q: How Long Do I Have to Pay Spousal Support in California?

A: While the specific length of time you will be required to pay spousal support will have to do with several factors unique to your circumstances, it will generally depend on the duration of your marriage. If you were married for less than ten years, you can expect spousal support to last about half the length of your marriage. For marriages lasting longer than ten years, courts may not define a support termination date at all, leaving it subject to modification.

Q: How Do I Avoid Paying Spousal Support in California?

A: California courts are primarily concerned with ensuring fair and equitable settlements. Therefore, no unethical attempts to evade obligation should be attempted.

However, some circumstances may mitigate or minimize responsibility, such as prenuptial agreements, a formal mutual agreement not to require it, a short marriage, the self-sufficiency of the other spouse, effective negotiation, or substantial evidence demonstrating the lack of needs of the other spouse. In all cases, an attorney can provide the appropriate counsel needed to make your case.

Q: What Disqualifies You From Alimony in California?

A: Some circumstances can limit or disqualify you from being eligible to collect spousal support. These include life changes, such as remarriage, a significant increase in income, or by mutual agreement. However, committing a criminal violation, such as abuse, domestic violence, or neglect, can also lead to disqualification.

Lastly, if the court discovers you have acted with financial misconduct, such as by hiding assets or unreasonably consuming marital resources, a judge may reduce or remove your entitlement to receiving any support.

Your Huntington Beach Spousal Support Lawyer

Following a divorce, it is imperative that you are able and equipped to begin to rebuild your life, maintaining financial security and peace of mind. Though divorce litigation can be quite draining, and the temptation will be to settle on terms in order to be done as soon as possible, it is highly recommended that you fight for your rights during the initial determination stage. It will be far more difficult to advocate later for a fair and reasonable agreement.

Whether you expect to be on the paying or receiving end of a spousal support order, it is imperative that you work closely with a qualified and experienced Huntington Beach attorney to ensure the terms in your case are reasonable and fair. If you are ready to discuss your case, contact our office for a consultation today.

Huntington Beach Practice Areas

Child Custody

Child Support


domestic violence

Family Law

spousal Support


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