How does California calculate spousal support?

If you are unsure about how to support yourself financially after divorce, you can request spousal support in California. Spousal support, sometimes called alimony, can help bridge the gap to a single-income household.

Before moving forward with a divorce filing or making an agreement, understand the laws about alimony in California.

Factors determining support

If you request alimony in your divorce petition, the judge will look at:

  • Each of your income, education and job training
  • How each of you contributed to the household, including both financial contributions and contributions such as cooking and child care
  • Any history of abandonment, violence or abuse
  • The standard of living documented during your marriage
  • The health status and age of each of you

Spousal support calculations

California judges usually order spousal support for 50% of the length of your marriage if you stayed married for less than 10 years. If you had a longer marriage, you can ask the court for a prolonged alimony arrangement. Either way, spousal support provides the opportunity for you to seek training for a better-paying job.

Each California county has temporary support guidelines. These regulations may also influence the duration and amount of permanent support awards.

After you submit or respond to a divorce petition, the court will schedule a hearing. Both you and your spouse must provide full financial disclosure to help the court make decisions about property division, spousal support and child support if applicable.

Either spouse can request a change in support if financial circumstances change. If the court awards you alimony, it will end if you remarry or at the date established in your divorce agreement.

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