Alimony or Spousal Support in California

What is Alimony or Spousal Support

When individuals get married, the law recognize them.  For this reason, when spouses separate or divorce the law may require one of the spouses to financially support the other either for a period of time or indefinitely. This legal obligation is called spousal support which is also commonly known as alimony in California. Thus, the two terms are used interchangeably. 

Temporary Spousal Support 

Upon filing for divorce or legal separation each spouse can ask the court to set temporary spousal support. The purpose of temporary spousal support is to maintain the spouse’s standard of living while the divorce or legal separation is taking place. Therefore, the purpose between temporary and permanent spousal support are not the same. 

Permanent Spousal Support

The word “permanent” used before spousal support can be misleading. Permanent spousal support does not have to be lifelong. It is more accurate to call it long-term spousal support. In marriages of long duration, the length of spousal support could be for life. Yet, spousal support terminates if the supported spouse remarries. Therefore, even permanent spousal support is often not forever. 

Calculating Spousal Support /Alimony 

When divorce or dissolution is finalized the court may order one spouse to pay the other long-term spousal support. The court must consider the the following to amount of spousal support that must be paid.


  • Length of marriage- the longer the parties have been married the longer the length or amount of spousal support can be. In many cases, spousal support could be for life.
  •  Age and Health of Spouses- Whether the spouse is able to work is often an important factor in determining spousal support.
  • Earning Capacity and Income- The ability of a spouse to work and earn income along with the actual income he/she earns is a factor the court can consider in determining whether or how much to award spousal support.
  • Balance of Hardships- Along with the standard of living, the court can consider other factors it deems relevant or important in determining whether to award spousal support.
  • Gavon Warning- Generally, spouse who is receiving spousal support is warned that if they at any time can work and be self-sufficient, they should do so. Thus, the spouse receiving support must work to eventually become self-sufficient.
Questions to ask your divorce lawyer

Questions to ask your divorce lawyer

Questions to ask your divorce lawyerWe know hiring a lawyer is confusing, complicated, and expensive. If you can avoid hiring a lawyer there is a good chance you should. However, sometimes it is necessary to work with a lawyer so that you can protect your legal...

Preparing for custody mediation

Preparing for custody mediation

Preparing for custody mediationIn California custody disputes, the family court requires you the participate in a court mandated custody mediation before the judge hears your case.  Custody mediation is required by law. In this article, you will learn what you need to...

Chances of a father winning custody

Chances of a father winning custody

What are the chances of a father winning custody?  Many people believe  in custody disputes the law prefers mothers to have custody of the child instead of the father. This is not the case in California. The law does not give either parents a preference on the...

Modifying a child support order

Modifying a child support order

Reduce child support obligation? In California, child support orders may be modified at any time before termination of the payer’s duty to pay support. Thus, you can ask the court to reduce your child support obligation. Mostly to reduce your child support you must...

Sabeti Law & Associates Business Hours

Monday to Friday by appointment

Saturday & Sunday closed unless urgent matter