Ventura, CA Same Sex Marriage Alimony Lawyer
After a divorce, one party may be left without the financial support of their spouse. If one spouse works to support the family during a marriage, the other spouse may not have the job skills, experience, or income to continue to support themselves. If would be unjust if this spouse’s only choices were stay married or become poor. Instead, spouses can demand “alimony” or “spousal support” from their ex-spouse after the divorce.
If you are going through a divorce in the Ventura, our lawyers may be able to help. Our attorneys understand the nuances of handling a divorce or alimony case for LGBT couples, and will work to ensure that the laws are applied fairly and reasonably in your case. For a free consultation, call the Ventura alimony lawyers at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today. Our number is (805) 585-5056
Spousal Support Lawyers for LGBT Divorces in California
Alimony is designed to give a divorced spouse ongoing support. Alimony would be used after a divorce, traditionally, when one spouse worked to support the family and the other was the homemaker or took care of the children. In many marriages in California, this is not how the family structure works. More and more often, both spouses work, and there might not even be children. Regardless, alimony may still be available in many divorces.
When determining whether spousal support is appropriate, courts look at the following factors:
- Whether each party can continue the standard of living they were accustomed to during the marriage;
- Each party’s marketable job skills;
- Whether a party is less likely to get a job because of the time they did not work to focus on domestic duties;
- Whether one party helped pay for a professional license for the other;
- The party’s ability to pay spousal support;
- Each party’s needs (based on the accustomed standard of living);
- Each party’s obligations and assets;
- The length of the marriage;
- The ability to work while raising kids (if there are kids involved);
- Each party’s age and health;
- Domestic violence history;
- The tax consequences of alimony;
- The parties’ balance of hardships;
- The supported party’s ability to get back on their own feet within a time equal to half the marriage’s length;
- Any criminal convictions for abuse; and
- “Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.”
These factors may have different weights for different judges, but may help you understand the kinds of things courts look at. Courts would prefer not to order alimony, and would rather see the supported party working and supporting him or herself. However, courts are willing to award alimony payments to spouses who need time to get job training, have significant hardships, or were accustomed to a high standard of living.
It is also important to keep in mind that these factors are not the only factors courts look at. Because they can take “other factors” into account, your lawyer may be able to argue for increased or decreased alimony payments based on the specifics of your case.
Alimony Issues for Same-Sex Couples in CA
Alimony is designed to be gender-neutral. Many people assume that courts expect the husband to pay alimony and the wife to receive alimony, but that presumption is not found anywhere in the law. Since these laws are gender-neutral, they often apply readily to LGBT and same sex couples going through a divorce. However, there are some particular issues that increase the legal challenges for LGBT divorces.
In the United States, only about 20% of same sex couples have children. This may mean that both parents work during the day, and could each bring home income. Often in these cases, each spouse is able to support themselves, which could limit the situations where alimony is appropriate. However, with both parties working during the marriage, the standard of living may be much higher than in couples where only one spouse works.
Since maintaining the standard of living from during the marriage is one of the alimony factors, you may be entitled to alimony if you made less than your spouse. Just because you can work does not mean you can afford the same lifestyle that you may have been able to afford during marriage with double – or more than double – your own, individual income.
Another factor for alimony is a history of domestic abuse. Statistics for domestic abuse are often inaccurate, and do not reflect the high numbers of unreported or borderline domestic abuse. Especially in the LGBT community, domestic abuse often goes unreported and many are unwilling to admit that they are in an abusive relationship. Especially if you are getting the divorce because of abuse, it is important to talk to your attorney about these issues. Ultimately, it may entitle you to higher alimony payments – or allow a court to force you to pay higher amounts. Being transparent with your lawyer is an important part of any legal strategy.
Same Sex Divorce Attorney in Ventura, California
The California divorce attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth represent those who need help with their divorce and any other legal issues surrounding divorce, no matter their gender or family structure. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (805) 585-5056.