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Factors for Deciding California Alimony Payments
If you and your spouse cannot agree to a fair amount of spousal support, the court will weigh a number of factors before deciding on a figure.
- Can each party’s earning capacity sustain the standard of living attained during the marriage?
- The assets and needs of each party in relation to maintaining the standard of living during the marriage
- Whether or not one spouse helped the other obtain a job, training classes or educational opportunities
- The paying spouse’s available resources
- Length of the marriage
- The parent receiving support’s ability to raise a child while staying employed
- Age and health conditions of each spouse, including any documented history of domestic abuse
- Potential hardships that each spouse might likely encounter
- Will the amount allow the receiving spouse to eventually become independently self-supporting?
- Other factors that might be worth considering, according to the court’s opinion
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The trend in California and states across the county is to provide spousal support on a temporary basis. It is very rare, but still possible for long-term marriages, to receive permanent spousal support. In most cases, California family law courts will order spousal support to continue for half the length of the marriage. If you were married for 20 years, you or your spouse would likely owe spousal support for 10 years, though this is not set in stone.
If you were married for longer than 10 years, you can modify spousal support during those years if circumstances change (one party gets a substantial promotion or sustains a paralyzing injury, for example). However, if you were married for less than 10 years, the court no longer has jurisdiction after the decision is made. That means you must pay the amount ordered for those years, and the court cannot intervene.