The Different Types of Alimony in California

When you go through a divorce, one of the foremost things on your mind is likely to do with finances. You may be wondering how you’re going to be able to afford to live a new life, independent from your partner. This financial concern is especially true if they’ve been the primary source of income throughout the marriage.

These thoughts can be terrifying and quite anxiety-inducing. These feelings are something that many people face as they’re going through a divorce. This time doesn’t have to make you feel afraid or anxious.

As you go through your divorce, you may qualify for financial help, also known as alimony. You’ve probably heard this word before, but you may not understand how it works. Today, we will take a closer look at how spousal support works and the varying types that exist in the state of California.

Types of Alimony Available in California

You may be eligible for different types of alimony in California. Determining which type of support you’ll receive is the first step towards establishing your financial security. 

Temporary Alimony

Also known as “temporary spousal support,” this type of alimony is paid by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse. The lower-earning spouse may receive these payments while the divorce is still pending. This payment will help with the costs of filing for a divorce and daily living expenses. 

However, it’s essential to understand that you may stop receiving these payments once the divorce is finalized.

In most situations, you’ll be eligible for receiving temporary alimony for one-half the duration of your marriage (e.g., if you’re married for eight years, you can receive it for four years). If your marriage has lasted more than ten years, a judge may order alimony to be paid for an indefinite amount of time.

During court proceedings, a judge may order your higher-earning spouse to continue paying alimony of a different type as you take steps to establish financial footing after the divorce.

Permanent Alimony

The lesser earning spouse may also qualify for what’s known as “Permanent Alimony.” The judge determines this qualification at the end of the divorce proceedings. Here a spouse may continue to receive monthly, recurring payments either until they get remarried, or pass away.

Rehabilitative Alimony

This type of alimony is meant to give the lesser earning spouse time to become self-supporting after a divorce. Here a judge will establish a fixed period for which they will receive this financial help. During this time, the spouse must either search for a job or undertake some type of education or training that will help them to do so. Judges can order this type of alimony for up to 5 years.

Reimbursement Alimony

The reason this alimony received its name is that one ex-spouse will be reimbursing the other for their expenses. For instance, a judge may order your ex-spouse to pay for your higher education or work training program. You’ll only be awarded this type of alimony if your ex-spouse supported you throughout the relationship as you attended one of these programs.

Lump-Sum Alimony

There are two times when judges will order this time of spousal support:

  • You may receive this alimony instead of a property settlement. So, instead of receiving any property or valuable items from the marriage, you’ll receive a one-time, lump-sum payment.
  • Sometimes your ex-spouse may be ordered to make this payment to fulfill any remaining spousal support obligation. When this happens, the obligation is limited to how long it takes to make this one-time payment. Typically, you’ll receive the money immediately.

Additional Factors Regarding Alimony in California

Knowing you may be eligible for alimony in California sounds great, but there are some things you should know. This knowledge will allow you to protect yourself throughout the divorce proceedings.

To begin with, if there was a prenuptial agreement filed before marriage, you’ll want to check if it included an alimony clause. If so, this is the type of support you’ll receive.

Additionally, you need to realize that spousal support orders can be appealed and even modified. 

Seeking Alimony in California

Navigating spousal support payments can be a complex and confusing process. There are forms, documents, and court hearings to consider. Even if you and your spouse agree to the modification, consulting an attorney and ensuring you file the right paperwork is critical to your success.

At Azemika & Azemika, our law firm is exclusively devoted to the field of family law. We handle divorce cases, dissolution of domestic partnerships, child custody, visitation, child and spousal support, paternity, abandonment, and adoptions. Our partners at Azemika & Azemika will put their expertise to work for you and make sure your case is customized to your needs. Contact us today for your free case evaluation.

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