Alimony – Spousal Support Determinations in California

Aside from an agreement of the parties, the spousal support may be awarded by the court until the death of either party or remarriage of the requesting spouse based upon the following statutory factors:

 1. The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage.  The court may take into account the employable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment; the extent to which the supported party’s present or future
earning capacity is impaired  because of domestic duties.

2. The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party.

3. The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support.

4. The needs of each party based on the standard of living.

5. The obligations and assets of each party.

6. The length of the marriage.

7. The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment.

8. Age and health of the parties.

9.  Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence.

10. The tax consequences to each party. 

11. The hardships to each party.

12. The goal to have the supported party to be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time.  Except in the case of a marriage of long duration, a reasonable period of time generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage. 

13. The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse.

14. Other factors the court deems may be just and equitable.

In a judgment of dissolution, a party may be awarded spousal support at least for a period of time that the court determines is just and reasonable and based upon the above-stated factors.

In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may order the party seeking support to submit to an examination by a vocational training counselor.  The examination shall include an assessment of the party’s ability to obtain employment.

Unless agreed otherwise, the court retains jurisdiction indefinitely in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage where the marriage is of long duration.  A marriage is presumed to be of long duration if the date of marriage to date of separation of the parties is 10 years or more.