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How does California law handle alimony?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2021 | Spousal Support

Spousal support may become a divisive issue during divorce. If the temporary alimony order leaves a sour taste in someone’s mouth, it may cause efforts for or against it to ramp up.

It may help to go into the court process having a basic grasp of how California laws deal with spousal support. There are several factors a judge may consider when deciding how much a former spouse may receive and for how long. Discover some of these to better prepare for the process ahead.

The length of the marriage

One of the first determining factors in deciding alimony is how long the marriage lasted. Spouses in shorter marriages may not receive a final alimony award, but may get something temporarily during the divorce. The time period that a spouse receives alimony is typically half the length of the marriage.

The disparity in income

The judge will also consider the difference in incomes of the spouses. If one spouse earns significantly less, with no potential to earn more, the court may grant a higher award. If one spouse stayed home to raise children, the court may award alimony on a transitory basis to allow the non-working spouse to find gainful employment.

The contribution to the family

When deciding if spousal support is appropriate, the court may consider the role each spouse played in the efforts of the marriage. If the couple has children, for example, did both share in the child-raising or did one do significantly more? A spouse who left a lucrative career early on to focus on children may receive spousal support in the judgment.

Spousal support does not have to become contentious or foster bitter feelings. Looking at how the court may rule should help the couple accept whether it is unavoidable.