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Okay, so you have gotten off the floor after receiving your first support calculation from DissoMaster. Is there anything you can do to limit the amount you pay in spoual support (alimony) or create a light at the end of the tunnel? Or is a spousal support award a life sentence after your divorce?

If you are a high earner with an advanced degree and a profesional license (think lawyer or doctor), or you have a rare ability to sell that has propelled you into the elite of the sales profession, I have bad news, particularly if the supported spouse was a homemaker with little education and you have a marriage of greater than 10 years.

If you have an attorney, it may be best to make sure she files a “Memorandum of Points and Authorities” along with your Request for Order (“RFO”) or response to RFO. If you’re self-represented, you should attach a Points and Authorities to your RFO and consider the following arguements:

1. Ask the court to attribute income to the supported spouse. Even a little income on her (or his) side of the ledger can take bite out of your monthly payment. FC 4620; Marriage of Cohn (1998) 65 Cal. App. 4th 923.

2. Is the supported spouse receiving assets in the divorce that can provide income? If so, make the argument that income from investments, retirment income and cash received in the settlement will be sufficient, if invested properly, to make the other spouse “self-supporting.” Marriage of Terry (2000) 80 Cal. App. 4th 921

3. Are you close to retirement? If so, you can argue that support should be calculated based on what you’re getting from Social Security plus your retirement pensions and savings. If the supported spouse has received half of these retirement accounts, the income from them should be attributed to him (her) as income for support, thus reducing your payment. Marriage of Reynolds (1998) 63 Cal. App. 4th 1373.

4. You are not expected to work unreasonably long hours or endure extraordinary hazards to pay spousal support. Supported spouse’s lawyer will argue that you Donald Trump, even if you have sacrificed any hope of leisure time to earn overtime pay. Counter that with the argument that a supporting spouse should not be required to work unreasonable hours to pay her support. “Unreasonable hours” is usually anything over 40 per week. Marriage of Simpson (1992) 4 Cal. 4th 225.

These are just some of the arguments you can make from case law to support a reduction of the amount or termination of the period of support. Remember, spousal support cases are complex, and to evaluate your unique situation, I would have to see your case materials and schedule a consultation appointment.

Has that jello fallen off the wall yet? I remain …

Very truly yours,

Thomas D. Ferreira, Esq.
Disclaimer: Thomas D. Ferreira is an attorney licensed only in the State of California. The information set forth in this blog or on our websites are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship, nor are they intended as legal advice on your specific matter. This information is not intended to apply to cases or jurisdictions outside the State of California, and those viewing this information outside of California, or having business before jurisdictions outside of California, should consult a local professional or lawyer. The information in this blog is not a substitute for the advice of competent counsel, and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the results of your legal matter.

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