Alimony Determination

Permanent spousal support, also known as alimony, is when a payment is made by the spouse with better financial standing or the ability to support the spouse in a lesser financial standing for a period of time. California law dictates that spousal support be determined by a court after careful review of numerous factors. Common factors include: the length of the marriage, the incomes and ages of each spouse, the marital standard of living during the marriage, and the assets available to each party after the divorce is final. An attorney can provide you with further information as you work to determine necessary spousal support.

Length of Spousal Support

The court determines the duration of spousal support. The court determines this by following certain general equitable principals and guidelines most often set forth and determined by common law case histories.

General Rule

A general rule of thumb is that spousal support lasts for half the length of a less than 10 years long marriage. In longer marriages, the court will not determine the duration of the alimony. Rather, the burden falls to the party who pays to prove that spousal support will not be needed at some point in time in the future.

1990s Duration of Alimony

The duration of alimony was linked to a transition period from married to single life in the late 1990s. Circumstances vary from case to case, but the courts rarely favor “lifetime support.”

One appellate court put it this way:

“As recognized by our Supreme Court, the public policy of this state has progressed from one which entitled some women to lifelong alimony as a condition of the marital contract of support, to one that entitles either spouse to post-dissolution support for only so long as is necessary to become self-supporting.”

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