California Alimony Laws 2024 – All You Need to Know

California Alimony Laws 2024 – All You Need to Know

August 13, 2022

Going through a divorce involves significant change. Everything from your living situation to your time with your children can be affected. Though this time may be stressful, it is important to think about what your life will look like following your divorce.

Alimony, or spousal support, is a major factor in many divorces. Whether you are paying or receiving alimony, it is essential that you understand the current laws and regulations surrounding the agreements. Once you comprehensively understand alimony law, you can better navigate it in your own life. Then, with the help of a divorce attorney, you can create an alimony agreement that is fair and gives both parties the opportunity for success.

What Is Alimony?

Alimony is a foreign concept to many people, especially if they have not navigated a divorce. Sometimes called spousal support, alimony is an agreement in which one divorcing partner pays the other divorcing partner a monthly stipend. This money helps the receiving partner establish their new life and get back on their feet.

Spousal support is appropriate for marriages where one person makes most of the money while the other makes little or no money. For example, if one spouse is a surgeon and the other is a stay-at-home parent, the surgeon spouse would likely have to pay alimony to the other spouse after divorce.

Benefits of Alimony

The benefits of alimony are numerous. In many cases, one spouse stays home or works for less in order to benefit the family. Though this individual does not go to an office, they still contribute greatly to the marriage. Alimony acts as compensation for their sacrifice and ensures that they have the ability to start a new life

Many people do not realize that staying at home can create issues for an individual’s resume. If there is a 10-year period where a spouse stays home with children, attempting to return to work after a decade outside of the workforce will be a challenge. Alimony helps make this process fairer, compensates the individual for their contribution to the home, and allows them to seek retraining or other avenues.

The Duration of Payments

Many people falsely believe that alimony payments continue for the rest of the couple’s lives. However, this is not always the case. In most situations, the payments end after a predetermined time. However, the amount of time varies depending on a number of factors.

For marriages that last 10 years or less, alimony is usually granted for half the duration of the marriage. So, for example, if a couple divorces after six years of marriage and alimony is required, the support would likely last for three years after the divorce.

Any marriage that lasts longer than 10 years is considered long-term. In these situations, there is no required length of time that alimony must occur. It will depend upon the situation, the ages of the couple, and other factors.

Mitigating Factors

When the court mandates alimony, they will consider several factors about the couple. These factors will determine if alimony is appropriate, how much the alimony should be, and how long it should last. Factors that the court considers include:

  • The age, health status, and earning capacity of each spouse.
  • How long the marriage lasted.
  • The marriage’s standard of living.
  • Whether domestic violence was involved.
  • Sacrifices that the receiving party made in their own career for the benefit of the paying party’s career.
  • The paying party’s ability to pay.

There are other factors that the court may also consider. Your attorney can bring any extenuating circumstances to the attention of the court.

FAQs About California Spousal Support Law

What Are the Rules for Alimony in California?

California residents can expect to receive alimony, if they qualify, for half the length of their marriage. If their marriage lasted for longer than 10 years, this equation might not apply. There are very few immovable rules concerning alimony in the state of California. Almost all decisions are based on the couple’s unique situation and factors. Consult our attorneys to get a more specific idea of what you can expect from an alimony agreement.

How Can I Avoid Paying Alimony in California?

Your best strategy is to hire a qualified spousal support attorney to fight against your spouse’s request for alimony. There are many factors that can sway the court in your favor. However, if you are paying alimony, you can end the payments by proving that your ex-spouse is cohabitating with a partner. This will end your alimony payments, as your ex-spouse has an alternative source of support.

What Is a Wife Entitled to After 10 years of Marriage in California?

A wife’s situation after 10 years of marriage will depend upon the setup of her marriage. If she is the highest earner, she may have to pay alimony to her spouse. On the other hand, if she is not the main breadwinner, she may be able to receive alimony from her spouse. Usually, alimony is equal to 40% of the paying spouse’s income.

What Is the 10-Year Rule in California?

The 10-year rule is a basic standard for how long alimony payments should last. For marriages lasting 10 years or fewer, the spouse should expect alimony for half of the length of the marriage. For example, if a marriage lasts for eight years, alimony should be paid for four years following the divorce. For marriages lasting over 10 years, there is no standard rule for how long the court will require alimony payments.

Contact the Edgar & Dow

When facing an alimony agreement, it is important to have a Southern California spousal support attorney who can help you navigate the negotiations. In order to get what you deserve, your attorney must present your case properly and effectively.

Our team at the Edgar & Dow has been helping divorcing spouses navigate alimony for many years. We understand the challenges and benefits of these agreements, and we work diligently to ensure that we find a fair and equitable solution.

For more information, contact the Edgar & Dow today.


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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