How Long Does Spousal Support Last in California?

San Diego, CA – How long spousal support lasts is vitally important because it affects a couple’s financial security and financial planning efforts. Think about it – for both the spouse who has to pay alimony and the one who receives it – the amount awarded affects expenses, income and ultimately both spouse’s standards of living.
Duration Of Spousal Support Explained by John Griffith

How long does spousal support last in a short marriage?

Many people believe there is a line that divides a short marriage from a longer union. That is partially true, but the issue is not really transparent. A marriage that lasts less than ten years may be considered to be a long-term marriage, but one that lasts over ten years can at times be designated as a short marriage. For this article, let’s say we are discussing a five-year marriage in which neither spouse is suffering from any disability.

For a normal short-term marriage, spousal support lasts one-half the duration of the union. So, in a five-year marriage, alimony might be ordered for as long as 2 1/2 years. However, keep in mind that the length of the marriage is only one thing that is considered for the duration of spousal support – it is not the only one.

How long does spousal support continue in a marriage that lasts over ten years?

Let’s suppose there is a 20-year marriage and there is no question that the marriage will be considered as a long-term union. In this situation, spousal support will not typically have a specific termination date. This means that the court may order spousal support until one spouse dies if the spouse who is receiving the support gets remarried, or by a further order of the court, whichever occurs first.

The term “Further order of the court” can contribute to spousal support that is ongoing, and the phrase is often the source of much confusion. Some spouses think that such an order can never change, which is not true. Unless spouses agreed by way of a court order that the spousal support cannot be modified, it can be. So even if we’re dealing with a 20-year marriage, the agreement may be altered at a future date.

How long does spousal support continue if the marriage barely passed the 10-year mark?

Once again, there is no set rule. Spousal support in these cases may be similar to a 20-year marriage or may be discontinued at the halfway point of the marriage. Again, the facts of the individual case control the outcome.

Do you have questions about your case and how long spousal support should last in your situation? We’re here to help.

Our family attorneys have years of experience handling all aspects of divorce and post-judgment issues that involve disputes over spousal support, on behalf of the spouse who pays and the spouse who receives support.

To learn more about spousal support in Carlsbad, San Diego, and the surrounding areas, contact the family law attorneys at Griffith, Young, and Lass to schedule a free consultation.
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