Can I get Spousal Support (Alimony) in California?

One of the top concerns many have when contemplating a divorce is assets and money,  so spousal support is often a very important issue in many California divorces.  This article will explain some of the basic principles relating to spousal support with information taken, in part, from and

  For questions about your specific situation, contact the Law Office of David Knecht,  (707) 451-4502.  


  • What is spousal support?


  • Spousal support, which is also known as alimony, is the payment from one spouse to the other.  It can be temporary or permanent.  These terms refer to when the support is ordered, not how long it lasts.  Temporary support is ordered while the divorce is pending.  Permanent spousal support is after the divorce judgment.  In California, either spouse may request spousal support. 


  • What is the purpose of spousal support?
  • Some people mistakenly believe that the purpose of spousal support is to punish the person who has to pay, but such is not the case in the no-fault state of California.  
  • The purpose of temporary support is to maintain the living standards of both parties until the divorce is final the assets and debts have been determined. 
  • Permanent support is not intended to be forever.  In California, the policy is that both parties become self-supporting within a reasonable amount of time and spousal support bridges the gap until the supported spouse can get the employment or resources to meet their needs. 
  •  What is the presumption for marriages that lasted less than 10 years?
  • For marriages that lasted less than ten years, the duration of support will generally have a time limit.  The presumption is that spousal support/alimony will last for half the length of the marriage. For example, if the marriage was ten years, the spousal support would generally end by five years. 


  •  What about long-term marriages? 
  • For long-term marriages, those of more than ten-year duration, the presumption is that the court maintains jurisdiction over spousal support indefinitely.  


  •  What factors can be considered by the judge for spousal support? 
  • The judge can consider the totality of the circumstances which may include, but are not limited to the standard of living you had when married, marketable skills, the market for those skills, how much your earning capacity was limited during the marriage, the length of the marriage, childcare, age, health, hardships, etc.  This list could include anything that a judge determines is fair and just.  

Consult with the Law Office of David Knecht

At the Law Office of David Knecht, at 707-451-4502, we have extensive experience in divorce in California.  We can explain the divorce process to you and advocate for the property division, financial support and custody arrangements that would work best for you.