Spousal support isn't automatically awarded in California. Instead, the courts review the situation and determine if spousal support is appropriate. There are two ways that it might be determined that alimony is appropriate in a case.
The first way is that the exes can agree on the support. If this is the case, all terms must be mutually agreed upon, including the amount, duration and frequency of payments.
The other option that is possible is that the court will determine whether support payments are appropriate. The court considers several factors in these cases, so you can't base what might happen in your case on what occurred in someone else's case.
There are many issues that the court will consider. These include:
- The standard of living during the marriage and each person's ability to uphold that
- Any job skills that the person seeking support payments has and how marketable and in demand those skills are
- Impairment of earning capacity and experience due to marital factors
- Time needed for the seeking spouse to learn marketable skills and find a job
- The length of the marriage
- Any reports of domestic violence against either party
When the court has to determine if spousal support is necessary, these factors will help them to decide specific terms. Most often, there will be an end date for alimony if the marriage didn't last at least a decade. For marriages that lasted at least 10 years, there might not be an end date to the support order.
Typically, spousal support payments will last for a duration that doesn't exceed one-half of the marital term. So, a four-year marriage might end with a two-year alimony order. Of course, the court has discretion in this matter. That allows the judge to consider unique circumstances.