How Long Do I Have to Pay Alimony?

When it comes to alimony, you probably have two questions: (1) how much, and (2) for how long? Unfortunately, there is no one answer. Each case is unique and so each alimony determination will be different. What is certain is that the courts will consider these factors when determining alimony:

  1. The length of the marriage
  2. The ages and health of the spouses
  3. The time and expense required for the supported spouse to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop marketable skills
  4. Both spouses’ financial needs
  5. Both spouses’ debts and assets

In California, spouses can request temporary alimony, permanent alimony, or both. Temporary alimony is a regular payment made from the spouse who earns more money to the one who earns less. It’s “temporary” because it provides financial support to the lower-earning spouse during the divorce process. Temporary alimony ends once permanent alimony is awarded.

Generally, for marriages under 10 years, permanent alimony lasts no longer than half the length of the marriage, which is defined as the time between the date of marriage and the date of separation. If a marriage lasts for 6 years, you can expect to pay alimony for 3 years.

For marriages over 10 years, there is no one rule that determines how long alimony will last. Judges will consider the various factors listed above in order to place the supported spouse close to the marital standard of living, until they can support themselves. After the divorce is final, alimony will continue as stated in your marital settlement agreement. Either spouse can also request that the alimony duration and/or amount be modified after the divorce.

If you are going through a divorce and need help with spousal support, contact the Newport Beach alimony lawyers at Burch Shepard Family Law Group.

Call (949) 565-4158 or contact us online to speak with an attorney.