How Long Does It Take to Get Alimony in California?

Encinitas, CA – Before spousal or partner support (also called alimony) can be granted in California, a court case needs to be opened. This may be done in one of two ways: (1) by filing for divorce, annulment, or legal separation, or (2) by obtaining a restraining order for domestic violence.

Fortunately, if this financial assistance is needed immediately, it may be paid during the time the case is open and before the divorce is finalized. Called a “temporary spousal support order,” it can help offset costs during the time of the case. If there is no temporary support order issued, long-term support can also come as the divorce is finalized, when it becomes part of the divorce judgment. At this point, it’s then called “permanent spousal or partner support.”

Spousal Support CAJohn Griffith of the San Diego-based Griffith, Young, and Lass family law firm explains, “While there’s no set-in-stone timetable for receiving partner or spousal support, it generally takes from six months to over a year.” He notes that since each case is unique, it’s best to consult with an attorney to make sure you’re getting your needs met.

Temporary Support

Once a divorce petition is served, a request for order asking for spousal support can be filed. After that, a court will give a hearing date 30-90 days in the future. Depending on the county in California, some courts allow booking dates ahead of time, while others will have their clerks assign an available date. “As always, there is a degree of variance when it comes to timing,” notes Griffith. “Depending on the particular court and judge, this initial process can take one month or three.”

The next step after the getting a hearing date assigned is the other party filing and serving a responsive declaration. Before or during the hearing, the spouses can choose to settle their own support issues. If the case remains unresolved, the hearing will occur. It is then that the judge makes a spousal support order. This temporary order can be modified, continued or ended, depending on the situation.

Getting a Permanent Spousal Support Judgment

When the divorce is finalized, the judge will ultimately issue a permanent (or long-term) decision on spousal support. In California, this determination depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of each party
  • Each spouse’s standard of living needs
  • Each person’s ability or potential to pay to maintain the standard of living experienced during the marriage
  • Any instances of domestic violence in the marriage
  • Debts, property, or other liabilities
  • The impact any employment has had or will have on the ability to take care of any children

If both parties agree on the terms of the spousal support ruling, the case can resolve in several months. Otherwise, in more complicated circumstances, such a judgment can take more than a year.

“It’s always best to consult with a family law professional to see that your situation is being handled appropriately,” concludes Griffith. “Since there might be technicalities you weren’t aware of, you’ll want to make sure your case is done properly.”

About Us: Griffith, Young and Lass are a San Diego-based family law firm committed to excellence. With professionalism and integrity, we can help you resolve your spousal support case in a timely manner. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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