How Long Do I Have to Pay Alimony?

How Long Do I Have to Pay Alimony?

Alimony payments and terms differ with each couple. There is no singular answer that can be applied universally. However, different factors affect how much and how long an individual must pay spousal support. The primary distinction about how long a spouse must pay maintenance is if the court considers the alimony temporary or permanent.

Temporary alimony is assigned to help alleviate an individual’s financial burden during the divorce process. The two parties must file a “Request for Order,” wherein they will need to fill an “Income and Expense Declaration.” The court uses their discretion to calculate how much temporary assistance the supporting spouse will pay. Temporary alimony will seize once permanent alimony is ordered, or if a judge rules otherwise.

Permanent alimony refers to the continuous payments a supporting spouse must make to their ex. While permanent is a misnomer, this form of support can last a number of years. The length of your alimony payments vary depending on certain factors.

Under family code section 4320, some of the things the court considers include:

  • The marketable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills.
  • The extent to which the supported party's present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party to devote time to domestic duties.
  • The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party.
  • The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support.
  • The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage.
  • The duration of the marriage

In general, a marriage that lasted no longer than a year will generally not require spousal support. Or, if it does, it may be assigned as temporary alimony. For marriages that last up to 10 years, alimony payments may be ordered for half the number of years of the union. Finally, if a couple was together for more than 10 years, the judge will use their discretion to determine the number of years maintenance must be paid.

At Mathew Sheasby, Attorney at Law, we have extensive experience dealing with divorces and understanding California’s family laws. We know how the judges calculate support payments and can help your case. If you are going through a divorce and need help with the financial aspect of the dissolution, contact our alimony Lawyer today.


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