What Stops Spousal Support in California?

Alimony, or spousal support, is designed to provide financial assistance for spouses after a divorce. It is often awarded to the spouse who has a lower income or does not make any income so that they can maintain their previous lifestyle. Spouses in California may feel like they are receiving too little support, while the spouse paying the alimony may believe they are paying too much. Both parties may wonder, “What stops spousal support in California?”

What Factors Impact the Amount and Length of Spousal Support?

There are many factors that go into the judge’s decision when determining how much spousal support spouses are to receive, as well as how long the order should continue. Each couple’s circumstances are different, so there is not one solution that fits every case. However, the judge will factor in these things when calculating spousal support:

  • The number of years you were married
  • The ages of you and your spouse
  • Current health conditions of both spouses
  • Both incomes
  • The income capacity of both spouses (in other words, how much money they have the potential to make with their education and skill sets)
  • The amount of debt you both have
  • The standard of living you both had while married
  • The tax impact on spousal support
  • If there was abuse in the marriage

If you have children together, the judge may consider additional factors, such as how caring for children has affected your career and how working will affect the children in the future. When you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement before coming to court, these circumstances will help the judge finalize their decision. However, many spouses agree on a spousal support arrangement outside of court. In this case, the judge will need to approve the order.

If you need further assistance understanding your case, consider hiring an Oceanside spousal support lawyer.

Temporary and Permanent Spousal Support

Temporary alimony is given to a spouse before the divorce has been finalized. This is because one spouse may be in need of financial assistance during the divorce process, especially in the case that the spouse makes less money than the other. This kind of alimony ends once the divorce is finalized, and the spouse may begin receiving permanent spousal support.

While they are called “permanent” spousal support payments, they may not be permanent in reality. In cases where marriages lasted over ten years, the support could be truly permanent. Instead of having a stated end date, it is understood that it is indefinite, with the possibility of the support being modified or terminated at some point in the future. If the marriage lasted less than ten years, typically, the support lasts for around half of the length of the marriage.

When Permanent Spousal Support Ends

For divorced spouses receiving permanent support who were married for ten years or more, these payments can end under certain circumstances. Here are a few reasons why they could end:

  • The spouse paying the support is 65 or older and is retiring
  • The spouse paying support suddenly has a lower income or more financial responsibilities
  • The spouse receiving support suddenly receives a higher income
  • The spouse receiving support remarries

The conditions for ending spousal support should be stated within the separation agreement.

Reservation and Termination of Spousal Support

A reservation of spousal support (otherwise known as a zero order) temporarily stops the order due to an issue that arises between the couple. However, the support may resume once more due to changing situations.

If spousal support is terminated, it means that one spouse will no longer receive financial support, no matter the circumstances. For example, even if the spouse who previously received support loses their job after a termination is ordered, that spouse cannot ask for spousal support again.


Q: What Disqualifies You From Alimony in California?

A: There are several reasons you are disqualified from alimony in California. It is only given to one spouse to maintain their standard of living from before the divorce. However, if the spouse who is to receive support has been convicted of domestic violence, is able to financially support themselves, the division of marital property provides enough support, or the spouse making more money has too many other financial obligations, then they may be disqualified.

Q: How Do I Not Pay Spousal Support in California?

A: You do not have to pay spousal support in certain circumstances in California. Every divorce case is different, and because of this, alimony is not a requirement for everyone. If you wish to avoid paying spousal support, there is an option to create an agreement with your spouse while you are still married, which includes an alimony waiver. Keep in mind that the court may not adhere to the agreement, and you may still have to pay alimony.

Q: Does Alimony Stop if You Get Remarried in California?

A: In most situations, alimony stops if you get remarried in California. This stipulation should be included in the divorce decree. This is common because the court will assume that once one spouse remarries, they will be financially secure with the help of their new spouse. In some instances, if the spouse is cohabitating with a partner, alimony payments may also stop.

Q: Is Spousal Support for Life in California?

A: Spousal support is typically not for life in California. Although there is a standard rule that if you have been married for over ten years, there is technically no end date observed by the court, it is very common for spousal support orders to be changed. Either spouse can request changes to the amount of support or the length. If both spouses can agree on those changes, then the court will make a new spousal support order.

Consult With an Oceanside Spousal Support Lawyer

Alimony provides financial assistance for a spouse with a lower income. Individuals who have divorced and are receiving spousal support may feel like they need more financial assistance, while paying spouses may believe that they are paying too much. If you need further help understanding spousal support, contact Paula D. Kleinman, A Professional Law Corporation.

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