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Average Spousal Support (Alimony) in California [2024 Updated]

One of the most important yet sometimes contentious topics when it comes to divorce is discussions on spousal support. This is also commonly referred to as alimony. It’s a financial support system designed to assist the lower-earning spouse in the parting relationship to keep a similar standard of living as they move on independently. By better understanding more details about the process and the average spousal support in California, it can help guide your own case.

Understanding Spousal Support in California

Spousal support is an official monetary payment sent monthly from the higher-earning spouse to their ex-partner after separation or divorce. The intent is to prevent significant economic damage to either party while allowing the lower-earning individual to keep a similar lifestyle to what they grew used to in the relationship.

In some instances, this support could be required indefinitely. This does not mean that it will be required for the rest of your life, but rather until the court deems it is no longer necessary. In other cases, the court may grant a temporary order upfront until the lower-earning spouse is able to support themselves independently.

Factors That Influence Spousal Support

There are many different factors that can influence how much one spouse will need to pay the other after their divorce. Some of the most common to be aware of include:

Length of the marriage: It can generally be expected that the longer a marriage exists, the higher these payments will be. It could also impact how long they will be required in both partner’s post-divorce life. In California, any marriage that lasted under ten years will require alimony payments for half of the marriage’s tenure.

Financial needs and resources: The court will spend time trying to understand the financial needs of both partners. They will look into details such as what each of their earning capacity is, how many assets they individually and collectively own, and also what liabilities may exist. Other factors like each partner’s age, health, and opportunities for work will also be factored in.

Standard of living: The longer two people are married, the more they become accustomed to a certain style of living. This sets a benchmark for the California court to work towards. The state will want to make sure that both parties will not experience any additional major disruptions to their lives after divorce. Requiring spousal support payments can help the lower-earning spouse maintain the lifestyle they had when they were married on their own.

Contributions to the marriage: The extent to which both parties contributed to the quality of their marriage will also be taken into consideration. For example, one spouse may have made a significant sacrifice to their career to keep the marriage working. They also perhaps helped to pay for their partner to continue their education. All of this can impact how much money the final alimony order will be.

Parental responsibilities: If one spouse primarily takes care of the children, it could impact their ability to work full-time and make an adequate living on their own. In this case, the court will ensure that the spousal support arrangement is able to not only support the adult but also ensure that they have enough funds to raise the children independently or in a shared custody arrangement.

While these are not all of the factors that will decide the monthly alimony price, these, in particular, have a huge influence. To better gauge how much you might have to pay or receive, reach out to a local spousal support attorney for insight.


Q: What Is a Wife Entitled to After Ten Years of Marriage in California?

A: If the wife makes a lower income, this means that she may be entitled to receive spousal support for a longer period than if the divorce happened before their 10-year mark. A marriage is officially considered a “long-term marriage” by legal standards in California after ten years. This is an entitlement that can extend to other marital items, like pieces of property, retirement benefits, or other investments that occurred during the duration of the marriage.

Q: Is Spousal Support Guaranteed in California?

A: Spousal support is not guaranteed, and there is no legal requirement for it to be issued in California after a divorce. This is because sometimes both spouses have a similar financial status and would not require this type of support to move on with their lives. However, if the lower-earning spouse is able to make a case that they need financial assistance to maintain a certain standard of living they had when married, it could be compelling enough for the court to grant alimony payments.

Q: How Many Years of Marriage Will Qualify Me for Alimony Payments in California?

A: There is no set minimum number of years needed to qualify for alimony payments. However, all marriages that end before the 10th anniversary will have much shorter payments. If the marriage did last over ten years, the court will likely not issue a date for payments to stop. They might leave it open-ended to be modified when there has been a change in financial circumstances for the lower-earning spouse.

Q: How Does Cohabitation Impact Spousal Support in California?

A: If the spouse who has been receiving alimony payments starts to live with a new partner, it will have an impact on the original spousal support arrangement. Cohabitation often leads to reduced or eliminated alimony payments as it is assumed the receiving spouse is now being financially supported by someone else. However, the court will take a look into the individual’s new cohabitation arrangement and make a final decision on whether to keep or modify the payments.

Contact All American Law Today

If you still have questions regarding spousal support or any other matters under family law, reach out to All American Law today. Our experienced attorneys have years of experience providing the type of guidance and support you need to secure an alimony arrangement that meets your needs. Contact us today to request a consultation and ensure your divorce details are fairly represented.

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