California Alimony Guide

Alimony, also known as spousal support in California, is designed to provide financial assistance for a spouse during the divorce process and for a period of time after the final divorce (or “dissolution of marriage”). However, it is crucial to understand your rights and obligations regarding spousal support before filing for divorce, as this knowledge can better prepare you for what to expect, the type of support you can go after, and how long this support will last. In the guide below, we will review the basic information about spousal support in California and what these laws can mean for you. 

What Exactly Is Spousal Support in California

Spousal support refers to payments from one spouse to another after a divorce has been filed. It is categorized into two types: temporary and permanent support. 

Temporary Support

Temporary support is provided while a divorce is pending. This type of support does not expire, and a spouse can ask for it as soon as they file their divorce case.  

Permanent Support

Permanent spousal support, also known as “post-divorce judgment” support, is intended to help the lower-income spouse become self-sufficient after a divorce. Several factors are taken into account when calculating this type of support, including the following issues:

  • Whether a party contributed to the education and training of the other spouse
  • The standard of living that the spouses experienced during the marriage and the ability of a spouse to maintain it after divorce
  • The length of the marriage
  • The health and age of the couple
  • The tax implications that the spouses will experience
  • The ability to pay spousal support based on the cost of living and income
  • Whether the spouse receiving spousal support can become self-sufficient in a reasonable amount of time
  • The couple’s assets, debts, and property
  • Known hardships
  • The ability of the spouse that is supported to earn a living without impacting the well-being of the children
  • Documentation or convictions of domestic violence or sexual abuse towards the children or spouse
  • Other factors that the court determines are relevant

Who Is Responsible for Paying for Spousal Support in California? 

In California, either spouse can request spousal support, regardless of gender. The primary consideration for obtaining this support is whether one spouse needs financial assistance and whether the other spouse can pay it. In these situations, the higher-earning spouse will usually need to pay spousal support to the lower-earning spouse. 

How Long Will a Spouse Receive Spousal Support?

There are numerous factors that determine how long a spouse will receive spousal support in California, including the following:

  • The reasonable transition period from married life to becoming single and having a self-sufficient life. 
  • The length of the marriage. For a marriage that lasts less than ten years, the length of support will generally be presumed to be equal to one-half of the time. 
  • For couples married longer than ten years, the spouse who earns less will receive support for as long as they need and as long as the other spouse can pay. There is no automatic stop date. 

Contact Herrera Clifton Hess Today To Learn More About Alimony in California

At Herrera Clifton Hess, our experienced family law attorneys provide high-quality legal representation to our clients when they need it most. Whether that means handling legal issues related to child custody and child support, divorce, mediation, or any other family issue, our legal team is dedicated to advocating for your best interests. 

If you want additional details about spousal support in California or more information about filing for divorce, contact Herrera Clifton Hess today and learn how our legal team can help you.