A high net worth can directly impact alimony or spousal support orders in a California divorce. However, there are legal guidelines and fundamental precedents these orders must follow before any deviations or exceptions for high-net-worth individuals.
The following offers a basic overview of high-net-worth spousal support orders in California. This is a general guide. For case-specific information, consult an experienced high-net-worth divorce attorney.
What is Considered High-Net-Worth in a California Divorce?
High-net-worth divorce cases contain assets valued at one million dollars or more.
Alimony or Spousal Support in a California Divorce
Spousal support, also called alimony, is a monthly financial payment one spouse makes to the other. For a court to order spousal support, one spouse must have a monetary need for support and the other an ability to pay. The court also considers the length of the marriage and the marital standard of living.
There are two types of spousal support in California: temporary and permanent. Temporary support is support ordered during divorce proceedings. Permanent support is entered as part of a final divorce decree.
California uses a formula when calculating temporary spousal support. However, there is no set calculation for determining permanent support. Instead, the court reviews several factors to arrive at an appropriate payment.
The Temporary Support Formula and High-Net-Worth
Temporary spousal support payments in California are typically calculated by subtracting 50% of the higher earner’s income from 40% of the lower earner’s income. While this seems straightforward, high-net-worth individuals rarely have the benefit of a W-2 from which to establish an actual income for spousal support.
Consultants, accountants, and business experts may be required to determine an appropriate income for executives, business owners, and those with incomes from various sources.
Permanent Spousal Support and High-Net-Worth
California’s family courts use approximately thirteen factors along with any other relevant information to establish a permanent or long-term spousal support order.
These include but are not limited to:
- The income of each spouse;
- The contributions of each spouse to the marriage;
- Whether one spouse gave up a career to rear children;
- The job skills and employability of the lesser-earning spouse;
- The age and health of each spouse; and
- The standard of living enjoyed by the spouses during the marriage.
Permanent spousal support is not necessarily a non-terminable support order. A permanent spousal support order may end when the receiving spouse remarries, co-habits, or becomes gainfully employed, depending on case circumstances.
Permanent spousal support is generally modifiable and runs for half the length of any marriage of fewer than ten years. As with temporary support, net worth directly affects the amount of any permanent support order. Therefore, employing an experienced attorney with a select team of experts is imperative for an income determination.
Protect Your Legal Rights with a Prenuptial Agreement
In California, a spouse may set or waive a spousal support payment before marriage in a valid prenuptial agreement. This agreement will be subject to the court’s scrutiny in any divorce proceeding and any terms included must be conscionable.
Contact an Experienced California High-Net-Worth Spousal Support Attorney Today
If you would like to discuss high-net-worth divorce spousal support in California, reach out to the divorce professionals at Moradi Saslaw. We can help you prepare for an upcoming spousal support order, modification hearing or walk you through the benefits of a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse.
Find out how California’s spousal support laws apply to you and your spouse today. Do not wait until your financial future is at stake. Schedule a confidential consultation with a skilled high-net-worth attorney at Moradi Saslaw.