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How is spousal support awarded in California?

It is no secret that a divorce can turn life upside down for both spouses. For the spouse who made less money however, it can be especially difficult to get used to living on just one income alone. Stay-at-home parents who were not working outside the home at all during the marriage will have to get back into the working world post-divorce, which is no easy task when they have been out of it for years.

Fortunately, California courts can order spousal support, or alimony, to be paid by the higher-earning spouse to the lesser-earning spouse in the divorce. Monthly spousal support payments can ease the transition from dual income to single income and help the lesser-earning spouse maintain the lifestyle they were accustomed to during the marriage. There are various types of support.

Temporary Spousal Support

Temporary spousal support is awarded to help support a lower-earning spouse during the divorce process by providing them with living expenses from the date of the request until the divorce is finalized.

Rehabilitative Spousal Support

Rehabilitative spouse support is generally intended to help lower-earning spouses who stayed home to maintain the household and care for the children while their spouse worked. Rehabilitative support allows the stay-at-home spouse to go back to school or acquire additional job skills, so they will have an easier time finding a job.

Permanent Spousal Support

While unlikely, courts may order the spousal support be paid for a long or indefinite period of time. However, even permanent support can end if the recipient remarries or lives with a new romantic partner.

Reimbursement Spousal Support

Reimbursement alimony can be awarded to a spouse who contributed to the other spouse’s career or education during the marriage.

Courts will consider a number of factors when determining how much support to award including the length of the marriage, standard of marital living, earning capacity of the lower-earning spouse, and whether there was domestic violence in the marital home.

Without spousal support, many people will find it difficult to make ends meet financially after the divorce. A family law attorney can help you file for spousal support to ensure that you can support yourself during and after the divorce is final.

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