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How Long Does Spousal Support Last In California?

July 31, 2021 Uncategorized

How Long Does Spousal Support Last In California?

If you are paying or receiving spousal support, you may be concerned not only with the amount but also when it is paid. In California, spousal support, traditionally known as “alimony,” is an arrangement in which a former spouse pays a sum of money to a former spouse over a period of time.

The purpose of this arrangement is to ensure that the less profitable or unprofitable spouse can maintain the standard of living to which he or she is accustomed during the marriage. This goes without saying, but it also means that the more profitable spouse may have to pay his or her ex-spouse for some time in the future.

Before explaining how long spousal support lasts and how to get it, let’s clear up a common misconception. Many people believe that in a heterosexual marriage, the wife is always ultimately supported by her husband. This is a misconception because the traditional view is that the husband should be the higher-earning partner in the marriage.

If so, then men pay more alimony. However, the court does not consider the gender of the spouse when determining spousal support. They only decide which side needs financial support and which side can provide it.

The duration of spousal support in California

California law is complicated when it comes to spousal support. Without going into detail, we’ll discuss two types of spousal support — temporary and permanent — and how and why you can claim it.

Temporary spousal support

As you know, temporary spousal support is an agreement that specifies when it ends. For example, a judge may ask for temporary spousal support until the divorce is final. Because there is a specific date by which support will end – although no one really knows how long it will last – it is considered temporary.

Permanent spouse support

Another type of spousal support is permanent spousal support, which is paid after a divorce. The duration of permanent spousal support depends on a number of factors — and in some cases, the word “permanent” can be taken literally.

If the marriage lasts less than 10 years, alimony is presumed to be paid during half of the marriage. This means that if you have been married for eight years, alimony will only last for a maximum of four years. The basic idea is that you’re married long enough to pay alimony, but not longer than the actual duration of the marriage.

In this case, if the marriage lasted more than 10 years before the divorce, spousal support payments would last longer. The state considers such marriages to be long-term without fixed spousal support. That means the order could last forever.

Other factors affecting the duration of spousal support

The length of spousal support does not depend entirely on the length of the marriage. There are a number of events that can terminate a spouse’s maintenance obligation after divorce.

Some of them are

  • The beneficiary’s spouse cohabiting with another person for more than three months
  • Beneficiary’s spouse remarries
  • If the paying spouse reaches retirement age

If one spouse dies

If any of these events occur, the spouse paying maintenance will need to apply to the court to terminate the spousal maintenance agreement. This is not an automatic process and the onus of proof is on the petitioner.

Fortunately for the family of the spouse who pays alimony, alimony ends when that person dies. In other words, the estate has no obligation to continue to pay spousal support or any other payments to the deceased’s former spouse.

We can help you arrange spousal support

If you need help negotiating, modifying or terminating spousal support, Spodek Law Group can help you. Our lawyers have many years of experience in the fields of divorce and family law and are prepared to provide each client with the level of personalized service they require.



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