During the divorce process, couples can work through contentious issues like property division, child custody and child support without the need to involve the court. However, most divorcing couples require court intervention when discussing spousal support.
California law outlines how and when alimony payments are made during a divorce. This law gives the court the power to assess each party’s circumstances before deciding the applicable spousal support as well as the amount payable. This law also allows the court to review and modify or terminate alimony payments.
Here are the three kinds of spousal support orders that the court may order in California.
Under California law, the court may award a lesser-earning party temporary spousal support during the divorce period. This type of alimony is common in situations where one party had no source of income while in marriage. The goal of this payment is to ensure that the financially-strained party is not impoverished to the extent of relying on public resources while awaiting the conclusion of the divorce and division of property.
Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to one spouse with the goal of ensuring that they have the resources necessary for acquiring the right skills or work experience they need to become self-sufficient after the divorce. Just like temporary alimony, rehabilitative alimony is temporary and will only last as long as the court finds necessary for the receiving party to acquire the skill or experience they need to find work.
Permanent alimony is meant to last a lifetime or when circumstances change. Permanent alimony is awarded when the court believes that the receiving party cannot become self-supporting due to significant issues like age, lack of employability skills or physical and mental challenges. Permanent alimony can be terminated if either party dies or if the receiving party remarries or enters into cohabitation with another person.
Alimony is gender-neutral, meaning that either spouse can request it from the other. However, it is important that you understand the type of alimony you are eligible for before filing your petition.