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Spousal Support in California: Lump Sum Alimony or Regular Payments?

San Diego, CA – When a couple divorces, the higher earner will sometimes be ordered to pay the lower earning spouse “spousal support” or alimony. California alimony laws are at the heart of many divorce cases, and there is much to consider. One question lower earning spouses may wonder is whether lump sum alimony or regular payments are appropriate.

Spousal Support in CACalifornia divorce lawyer John Griffith of Griffith, Young, and Lass in San Diego insists that there are benefits – and drawbacks – to both types of alimony payments.

Regular Alimony Payments

“Many people see alimony as a monthly payment that is paid to the lower earning spouse to help fund the same lifestyle the couple enjoyed when they were married, and that is very accurate in a lot of cases,” said Griffith. “Regular payments are also very attractive in many ways.

“For instance, regular payments offer a stable, predictable income. The amount can be budgeted, and if the money runs out at the end of the month, the person knows that the next month is right around the corner.”

Lump Sum Alimony

Some of Griffith’s clients are surprised to learn that there is a lump sum alimony option. “It’s not typically discussed when people talk about California alimony,” Griffith said.

“Lump sum alimony payments allow the supported spouse to sever ties with the supporting spouse without having to chase payments, deal with missed payments, or face a reduction of payments if the supporting spouse, the higher earner, loses his or her job.”

Lump sums can also be spent quickly. Griffith advises that if the person is not responsible with money, lump sum alimony payments might not be the best option.

Alimony Payments Should Be Considered Carefully

Like all Family Law, California Alimony laws are extremely complex and should be heavily weighed using the advice of an experienced California divorce attorney. Griffith adds that regular alimony payments work for some and lump sums work for others, but the ultimate decision will depend on the supported spouse’s unique situation and the lifestyle he or she wishes to preserve following the divorce process.

To learn more about regular vs. lump sum California alimony payments, visit the website of Griffith, Young and Lass in San Diego at

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Meet Your Dedicated San Diego Family Attorneys
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS

Family Attorney, John N. Griffith, CFLS

John Griffith has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2009. John is a Certified Family Law Specialist certified as an expert in the area of family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization.


Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.
Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

San Diego family lawyer Catie Young has a wide range of litigation experience. She has worked in civil litigation. She has successfully represented clients in many areas of family law including child support, child custody, divorce and domestic violence. She has a unique approach to each child custody case, so clients of Griffith, Young & Lass tend to gravitate toward her in these cases.


Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.
Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Family Attorney, Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Amy Lass was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting and went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006. Amy takes a practical and cost considerate approach to the process while striving to balance the emotional needs and objectives of her clients.


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The Typical Divorce Process in California
Discovery of Assets & Obligations (1-3 months)
1 Complaint for Divorce Filed Start of litigation
2 Complaint is Served Varies, but usually shortly after the complaint is filed
3 Answer to Complaint Due 30 days from the date of service
4 Mediation Anytime, but usually after initial discovery
5 Temporary Hearing Usually early in the process
6 Late Case Evaluation / Judicial Hosted Settlement Conference Usually near the end of the case
7 Trial (If Needed) The goal is to settle, but if your case goes to trial, it could take months after the start of litigation.
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