How spousal support works in California
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How spousal support works in California

Either spouse can ask for spousal support during a California divorce. Commonly called alimony, spousal support gives each person a chance to establish a financially independent household.

Review the factors that determine spousal support awards in California.

Spousal support guidelines

California does not have a specific formula to calculate spousal support. California courts consider each spouse’s employment and education situation, contributions to the marriage, standard of living during the marriage, health, age, and potential future earnings. The judge may also review evidence of domestic abuse if applicable.

For marriages lasting less than 10 years, the court usually ends support after no more than 50% of the length of the marriage. Individuals ending longer marriages may receive extended spousal support depending on the factors above.

In addition to post-divorce alimony, San Diego residents can request temporary support from the court, which lasts from the date of separation until the date of the final divorce decree.

The process of requesting support

Either spouse can ask for temporary and permanent alimony in his or her divorce petition. Both parties must provide complete financial disclosure to the court since the judge will use this information to decide whether a spousal support order makes sense and is fair to both people. A person can also ask for spousal support when he or she files a legal order of protection against a spouse or domestic partner.

Spousal support ends when either person dies or when the recipient remarries or enters a new domestic living arrangement. Otherwise, payments will persist until the date established in the court order, although either person can ask for modification if circumstances change.


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