For many years, spousal support was a routine arrangement in a California divorce settlement. Alimony was a way to even out the financial consequences for a spouse who stayed home with the children.
Today, alimony is far less common. However, California courts will still award spousal support to a lower-income spouse. This allows them to maintain their family’s lifestyle until they get the skills or training they need to support themselves if they are able.
How do you qualify for spousal support?
No one aspect guarantees an order for alimony. The court will consider multiple factors, including:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of each spouse
- Their standard of living
- A spouse’s ability to pay and each spouse’s financial situation
- Whether one spouse sacrificed their own career goals in favor of the other; whether that spouse can now maintain gainful employment without compromising the children’s best interests
- Evidence of domestic violence
How long can you collect spousal support?
When determining the number of alimony payments, California courts consider the length of the marriage:
- Marriages under 10 years: payments may extend for up to half the length of the marriage
- Marriages that lasted 10 years or more: no specific duration will apply
For long-term marriages, it’s impossible to predict how long you can receive spousal support payments. In some cases, the judge will order a Gavron Warning. This informs the spouse of the expectation that they will become self-supporting within a reasonable amount of time. In other cases, the duration of spousal support is completely undefined.
Spouses who have sacrificed their careers for their families can qualify for alimony. If you would not be able to maintain your lifestyle after divorce you may receive spousal support.