It looks like Kaley Cuoco’s ex, Ryan Sweeting, has filed a request to receive spousal support from The Big Bang Theory actress.
Sweeting Seeks Spousal Support
Cuoco, 29, who earns an estimated $1 million an episode, is now being asked to pay spousal support to Tennis pro ex, Sweeting, following the dissolution of the couples 21-month marriage. Sweeting, 28, filed on October 15. This comes three weeks after Cuoco submitted the divorce filing. “[The couple] have mutually decided to end their marriage,” the duo said in a statement at that time. “They ask for privacy at this time.”
When a couple divorces, a court often awards spousal support, or in this case, a spouse decides to seek spousal support (also known as alimony).
Alimony is awarded in order to limit the unfair economic effects of a divorce in that it provides a continued income to either the lower or non-wage-earning spouse. The justification for alimony is based on the idea that one spouse has had to forego a career in order to support a family. Therefore, in order to regain self-supportive income, the recipient spouse will need to develop skills to return to work, or needs to receive alimony in order to continue the standard of living that was established during marriage.
Courts have broad discretion in determining whether or not to award alimony to a spouse, as well as how long the alimony needs to be paid. Many states’ spousal support statutes are based on The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, which recommends courts consider the following factors when making decisions regarding alimony awards:
- Age, physical condition, emotional state, and financial condition of both of the spouses;
- Length of time required for the recipient to obtain education or training to become self-sufficient;
- Couple’s standard of living during the marriage;
- Length of the marriage; and
- Ability of the payer spouse to support the recipient while still being able to support himself or herself.
Length of Alimony
Because it is assumed that the lower-earning or non-wage earning spouse has put his or her career on hold to support the family and home affairs, alimony is often seen as “rehabilitative.” That means that it is in place to give the recipient of the alimony time to resume and find a job. Therefore, it is often ordered for only as long as is necessary for the recipient to re-train and resume work with the goal of becoming self-supportive.
When a divorce decree does not specify a spousal support termination date, payments must continue to be paid until the court orders otherwise. Typically, alimony awards end if the recipient remarries. Additionally, termination upon the payer’s death is not always automatic. In some cases if a recipient spouse is unable or unlikely to obtain employment because of health or age, a court may order that support be paid from the payer’s estate or life insurance proceeds.
Permanent Spousal Support
Permanent spousal support is determined by a court after careful consideration of various factors. The formula that is used to determine support is the same in every California court, but you will want to work with a family law attorney to help you negotiate certain items with your spouse to ensure you receive the proper support.
Court Must Consider Controlling Statute
A court must consider a controlling statute when establishing permanent spousal support.
The Controlling Statute states the following:
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.
In the past, most alimony awards were assumed to go to the wife, due to cultural roles of husband as bread-winner and wife as home-maker. As the culture has changed, so that now most marriages include two wage earners, women are viewed as less dependent, and men are more likely to be primary parents, the courts and spousal support awards have kept pace. More and more, the tradition of men paying and women receiving spousal support is being eroded, and orders of alimony payments from ex-wife to ex-husband are on the rise.
Tax Strategy During Divorce
It’s important to be mindful of this basic tax law and the ramifications while you’re negotiating the divorce. You should ensure the ruling of alimony or child support properly reflects the tax intentions. And it should be noted that even if the payments are characterized as “alimony” by both sides doesn’t ensure that it will be deductible. There are requirements that need to be met in order for things to be classified as deductible alimony.
Tax-law Requirements to be Considered Deductible Alimony
These are the tax-law requirements that must be met when it comes to alimony:
- The alimony payment must be made in cash or cash equivalent.
- The alimony payment must be received by a spouse under a divorce or separation agreement. The payment can also be received on behalf of a spouse. This agreement cannot designate the payment as being nontaxable to the recipient spouse and nondeductible by the payer spouse.
- During the time of the payment the payer spouse and the recipient spouse cannot be living together as members of the same household.
- There is no liability to make a payment for any period after the death of the recipient spouse or to make a substitute payment in such a situation.
- Spouses are not allowed to file a joint tax return with each other in the same year as the payment was made.
A Helpful Tip
It might be helpful to work out the best tax deal you can under the circumstances. So if you are able to negotiate with your ex-spouse you should both try.
Working with a Divorce Attorney
Regardless of what process you use, either mediation or a standard divorce, or what level or marital property or child support you are seeking, the divorce process is a difficult one, but one that can be aided by the help of a divorce attorney. There are many aspects of a marriage that must be decided, including child custody, marital property, and alimony. Working with a divorce attorney is a way to make the process smoother. If you’re considering divorce, you should also consider a divorce attorney like the ones at Law Offices of Korol and Velen, Certified Family Law Specialists.