Get the Lowdown on California Divorce Laws and Spousal Support

Divorce Settlement Agreement Get the Lowdown on California Divorce Laws and Spousal Support

California Divorce Laws and Spousal Support Explained by DoNotPay

If you’re worried about divorce costs and the financial aftermath of the procedure, you should get familiar with your state’s alimony laws. Don’t know where to start? DoNotPay is here to save the day!

We’ll tell you all about California divorce laws regarding spousal support and show you how to get a pitch-perfect marital settlement agreement.

California Divorce Laws—Alimony Types

Alimony—also known as spousal support—is a regular allowance one spouse (payor spouse) pays to another (supported spouse or payee) after the dissolution of marriage. In the Golden State, you can be awarded three types of alimony:


  1. Temporary alimony
  2. Rehabilitative alimony
  3. Permanent alimony

Temporary Alimony

Temporary alimony is awarded to the lower-earning spouse and lasts until the divorce is finalized. It serves as financial support to the payee during the proceeding.

Rehabilitative Alimony

This type of alimony is awarded when one spouse was the primary earner and the other took care of the children and home during their marriage. The primary purpose of this assistance is to help the lower-earning spouse get back on their feet after the separation, gain job skills, and become self-supporting.

Permanent Alimony

Permanent alimony is rare and usually only given to spouses who left a long-term marriage (ten or more years) and can’t find work due to illness or age.

How Is Spousal Support Determined in California?

If you can’t reach an agreement on alimony with your spouse, the court will have to resolve the issue in your stead. The judges will consider your income, expenses, assets, and debts when calculating the temporary alimony amount. For rehabilitative and permanent spousal support, the following factors are crucial:

  • Each spouse’s earning capacity
  • The marketable skills of the supported party
  • The extent to which the supported party’s future earning is impaired because of the unemployment during marriage
  • The extent to which the supporting party contributed to the supported party’s education, training, and career
  • Needs of each spouse, based on their marital standard of living
  • Debts, assets, and individual property of both parties
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The supported spouse’s ability to get work without interfering with the needs of any marital children
  • The health and age of both parties
  • Documented evidence of any domestic violence between the parties, including emotional distress
  • Any criminal conviction of either spouse
  • Other factors the court deems relevant

How Long Does an Ex-Spouse Have To Pay Alimony?

The duration of alimony payments in California is determined by the Supreme Court. Spousal support usually lasts for half the duration of a marriage shorter than ten years. If it was longer, the court doesn’t set a specific alimony duration. Instead, the payor spouse will have to prove that the payee doesn’t need the financial support anymore.

How To Get the Most Out of California Divorce Laws and Alimony

The best way to sort any alimony issues during divorce is to opt for an uncontested divorce. It gives you greater control over the procedure because the couple chooses the terms of dissolution. You can get divorced without a lawyer, the process will be cheaper, and you’ll likely stay in a friendly relationship with your spouse.

The terms of your uncontested divorce need to be stated in a marital settlement agreement, which covers:

If you can’t agree on these issues, try divorce mediation. The mediator will come up with suggestions you and your spouse can use to reach a compromise.

DoNotPay Helps You Draw Up a Tailor-Made Divorce Settlement Agreement

To get a divorce settlement agreement, you can either hire a lawyer (be prepared to spend a fortune) or write one yourself (be super careful not to make any mistakes). A much more affordable and efficient solution is to sign up for DoNotPay! We can create an agreement tailored to your needs and send it your way in a matter of minutes in case you opt for an uncontested divorce. You only need to:

  1. Select our Divorce Settlement Agreement product
  2. Give us the details about your assets, income, spouse, and children (if any)
  3. Choose whether you want to have your document notarized online

We’ll process the details you gave us and generate a top-notch divorce settlement agreement for you. Want to add legal weight to it? Follow the link we email you and schedule a video call with an online notary.

Check out the table below and find answers to commonly asked questions about divorces in California and in general.

California Divorces General Divorces

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