When couples divorce in California, one may be ordered to pay spousal support payments to the other, based on several predetermined circumstances.
At the Land Legal Group, our Los Angeles spousal support lawyer understand that there may be some confusion regarding how long those payments last and is answering some of the most frequently asked questions we receive on the subject.
Who Pays Spousal Support in California?
Spousal support is unique to each marriage and will be assigned to one spouse based on many factors, which can include their financial make-up, including current incomes, assets, debts, and each spouse’s education level, and current and future earning capacity.
How Long Am I Expected to Pay Spousal Support in California?
The California Courts will determine how long a spouse is expected to pay spousal support by following certain principles and guidelines that create an equitable financial solution.
Generally, spousal support is awarded based on the length of the marriage.
The general rule is that spousal support will last for half the length of a marriage that was legally valid for ten years or less.
Spousal support durations for long term marriages, which are those lasting more than ten years, differ and may be assigned for an indefinite term.
When Is Spousal Support Terminated in California?
California spousal support payments can end using factors outside of the length of the marriage.
Those factors can include:
- A court order or judgment sets a specific date for the support to end
- When the recipient spouse gets remarried
- The death of either spouse
Can I Change the Terms of My California Spousal Support Agreement?
California Courts outline factors regarding when paying spouses can modify alimony agreements.
These legally binding agreements may be adjusted to increase or decrease based on the earning ability of the paying spouse or the needs of the receiving spouse.
These circumstances may include the payer’s change in income due to injury, unemployment, or retirement, or the recipient’s qualifying needs.
What Are The Different Types of Spousal Support In California?
In California, there are several types of spousal support awards that fall outside of permanent payments.
Spousal support can be ordered during the divorce proceedings and can be paid temporarily or during a rehabilitative timeline while the recipient takes steps to establish their financial footing after the divorce.
Reimbursement alimony is awarded when one spouse supported the other through college or a work-related program, which resulted in the spouse earning more money.
There is also the possibility of the courts ordering a lump-sum payment that fulfills the spousal support obligation. This limits the obligation to the time it takes to make this one-time payment.