If there is a significant disparity between the incomes of you and your partner, a judge may award you spousal support as a component of your divorce proceedings. 

California recognizes two basic types of alimony: temporary and permanent spousal support. The amount and length of the payments depend mainly on the nature of support ordered. 

Timelines of spousal support 

According to the Judicial Council of California, courts award temporary spousal support to assist you financially as you go through the divorce process. The ordered payments should begin with the initial divorce filing, and they will end with the final ruling. 

Permanent spousal support orders begin after the dissolution, and the term “permanent” is a misnomer in most cases. If your marriage lasted 10 years or less, then a judge typically awards support for half the total length. 

For long-term relationships, judges still often order this post-divorce assistance with a specific duration in mind. However, the determination is specific to your case, and your support may not have an exact end date. 

Calculations of spousal support 

Temporary support is relatively straightforward as local courts have formulas that determine the payment amounts. The calculations typically involve elements such as: 

  • Individual incomes 
  • Living expenses 
  • Length of your marriage 
  • Child expenses 

Evaluating the level of permanent spousal support is quite a bit more complicated. The court must determine factors like your earning capacity and how your age, health and education might affect it. A judge can also consider debts and assets that impact your financial well-being and your ex’s ability to make payments. After comparing aspects such as these to your marital standard of living, the court can determine an appropriate level of permanent support.