Basics of Spousal Support in California

Tue 21st March, 2023 Family Law

Divorce cases all over the U.S. deal with issues of spousal support – also commonly referred to as “alimony.” However, while spousal support itself may be quite the universal topic, the way each state handles and processes alimony is quite distinct. This means that if you are going through a divorce or seeking spousal support in California, then you need to understand the rules and regulations that apply in California.

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support, or alimony, in California is a payment that is ordered by the court that act to ease any financial hardship that may befall a dependent spouse in a divorce action. If one spouse demonstrates that there is a need or that there is a significant pay gap between the two spouses’ earnings, then a court may find it appropriate to order spousal support to be paid to the dependent party.

In a divorce action, one item the court focuses on is ensuring that each spouse is dealt with fairly, and that each will be able to maintain a lifestyle that is similar to the lifestyle they maintained during the course of the marriage.

Types of Spousal Support Recognized in California

As mentioned previously, states handle spousal support differently. In some locations, the support is qualified differently, more or less freely awarded, and could be subjected to different time limitations based on calculations and processes specific to that state. California courts recognize two types of alimony: temporary spousal support and permanent spousal support. The court will examine the specifics of each case it reviews in order to determine which order is appropriate.

  1. Temporary Support

Temporary support, which may also be called “short-term” support, provides financial support for the more dependent partner for a set, limited period of time. The purpose behind temporary spousal support is to help ensure that the lower-earning spouse in the relationship is still able to live their regular lifestyle in a stable manner during the course of the divorce process.

Those who are awarded temporary spousal support should bear in mind that these support payments will generally terminate once a divorce is finalized. However, courts may designate an alternative date. Speak with an experienced divorce attorney for advice on how to best present an argument for such an alternative date to the court.

  1. Permanent Support

Permanent spousal support is a court order to provide long-term support to a former spouse. However, in spite of its name, readers should not be misled to believe that “permanent” support is actually permanent. It is very rare for a court to order spousal support that has no end term. Instead, permanent support should be thought of as long-term support. The court will review several factors in determining the length of the support, including the length of the prior marriage and the demonstrated level of need of the dependent spouse.

Typically, the only recipients of actual “permanent” support are those who demonstrate that they suffer from a disability and are unable to work.

Contact the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler

If you are considering a divorce action, contact the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler to confer with an experienced, distinguished divorce attorney on the details of your case. Our office has capably advised many clients through the ups and downs inherent in divorce cases, and we are standing by to offer the advice and legal counsel that you need.


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