How Long Does a Marriage Have to Last for Alimony?
Rancho Santa Fe, CA – When it comes to spousal support, difficult conversations are likely to emerge. Whether a couple had been married six months or 60 years, chances are alimony will be a point of contention.
San Diego divorce attorney John Griffith notes, “People assume that a marriage needs to last many years for alimony to be a possibility, but that’s not generally not the case.”
While each situation is different, there’s no real minimum for the length of the marriage when it comes to spousal support. What California courts emphasize more is the standard of living the couple established while married.
During cases involving alimony, if one spouse makes significantly more than the other and the couple together enjoyed a certain lifestyle, the court will often consider awarding spousal support to the partner who earned less money.
“There’s no hard-and-fast rule for alimony,” Mr. Griffith says, “but it’s usually awarded if couples had been married at least six months prior to separation.”
While awaiting the actual divorce trial in California, one partner may seek temporary spousal support. This can help financially during the time of separation, allowing for a reasonable bridge until full spousal support is granted.
Factors for Spousal Support
According to California Family Law Code 4320, there are many factors the court takes into account in alimony cases. Some of them include:
- What skills the partner seeking alimony possesses, as well as available training, education, and job opportunities for those particular skills
- Whether the supported party (the one seeking spousal support) underwent a time of unemployment to tend to domestic duties, and whether this time affected his or her ability to go to back to work
- Whether the supporting party (the spouse who would potentially pay alimony) had his or her education, training, or certification assisted by the supported party
- How able the supporting party is to pay alimony
- How long the marriage was
- The health and age of each partner
- Both parties’ debts and assets, including all separate property
Again, though each case varies, the supported spouse can expect to get alimony for approximately half the duration of the marriage. (For example, a 4-year-marriage could result in 2 years of alimony payments.) However, the court can decide that more or less time is reasonable, considering the couple’s individual circumstances.
“All in all, there’s no substitute for face-to-face legal advice with an experienced family lawyer,” explains Griffith. “Only in this manner can we truly make sure that all your needs are met in your particular case.”
If you’re going through a divorce that includes spousal support, schedule a consultation with John Griffith or one of his knowledgeable colleagues at Griffith, Young, and Lass.
About us: We at Griffith, Young, and Lass provide superb family law counsel to those in Southern California. Our attorneys treat all of our clients with the utmost of care and professionalism. Together, we will work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for your case.
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