1. Home
  2. Spousal Support
  3. How Does California Determine Spousal Support (Alimony)?

Spousal support (or alimony) is a payment that can be ordered by the court for one spouse to pay to the other. The purpose of this payment is to alleviate any financial disparities the receiving spouse may experience as a direct result of the divorce.

In California, alimony is determined after a court has divided a couple’s debts and assets. Unlike child support, there is no guarantee that either spouse will be granted spousal support.

California alimony laws require a judge to examine a few factors before deciding a monetary award:

  • the financial resources of the receiving spouse;
  • the educational history, skills, employability, and earning capacity of each spouse;
  • the length of the marriage;
  • the marital standard of living;
  • documented evidence of domestic abuse;
  • if either spouse has/ will have child support obligations; and
  • if the receiving spouse is supported by a third party.

Types of Alimony

Once it is determined whether a spouse will be paying the other spousal support, a court will determine the type and duration. This will vary depending on each party’s situation, but there are generally 5 types a court will choose from.

  1. Pendente Lite (temporary) Alimony: Alimony of this type is awarded to one spouse while the divorce is still pending. Temporary alimony automatically ends when the court decides upon a final divorce order. The court may order a different type of alimony upon termination.
  2. Rehabilitative Alimony: Alimony of this type is awarded to one spouse in need of aid while they work on their education. The receiving spouse must submit a plan to the court detailing; how much rehabilitative alimony is needed, the expenses that will be covered, and how long the training will take to complete.

The rehabilitative alimony will end whenever the plan is completed, or if the receiving spouse does not comply with the plan.

  1. Alimony in Gross: This is a lump sum payment one spouse gives to the other. This type of alimony is usually awarded when the receiving spouse does not take much joint property and the paying spouse gives them the monetary value of their share.
  2. Reimbursement Alimony: This type of alimony is awarded when one spouse must reimburse the other for any contributions they made to advance the other’s education or career.
  3. Permanent Alimony: Permanent alimony is a continued payment that lasts until a court decides to stop the order. If there is no order, the alimony will continue until either spouse dies, the receiving spouse remarries, or the receiving spouse enters into a committed, supporting relationship.

Compassionate Separation Agreement Attorneys

separation agreement can be difficult to construct if both parties struggle to reach a mutual understanding. Our attorneys will work with you to come to a decision that is beneficial for everyone involved.

If you are interested in scheduling a complimentary consultation with us, please call (760) 722-7646 or complete our online contact form.