A husband can get alimony in California. Here’s everything you need to know about paying and receiving alimony in California. 

How does California determine alimony?

A judge must consider what each spouse or partner can earn to keep a standard of living close to the marital standard when awarding alimony.

A California judge considers the:

  • Marketable skills of the spouse or partner getting support
  • Job market for their skills
  • Time and expenses the receiving spouse will incur to receive the education or training they need to gain employment, 
  • The receiving spouse’s earning capacity (the ability to earn income) during unemployment periods during the marriage while devoted to domestic duties.

Can California courts change alimony?

Yes, alimony can change. 

The following circumstances can allow for a modification of a spousal support order:

  • The supporting spouse’s involuntary loss of a job or wage reduction
  • The supporting spouse’s illness or disability preventing them from working
  • The receiving spouse has remarried or cohabitates with a new partner
  • The supporting spouse has experienced an increase in income

How long does alimony last?

A permanent or long-term spousal or partner support order is directly proportional to the duration of the marriage or domestic relationship. The purpose of spousal or partner assistance is for the recipient spouse or partner to sustain themselves for a fair amount of time.

Related: Divorce FAQs in California

According to the legislation, a “reasonable duration of time” is one-half the term of the marriage/partnership. However, the legislation also states the judge has the authority (discretion) to make a different conclusion based on the facts of the case.

However, one significant exception applies. When a marriage or partnership is “long-term,” (ten years or more), the judge cannot set an end date for spousal or partner support.

A marriage or domestic partnership’s duration includes the marriage date to the separation date. While the separation date can impact spousal or partner support, parties may disagree, and judges will need to make the final spousal support decision. When determining whether the marriage/partnership is valid, the judge can also consider the periods of separation during the marriage/partnership.

Can cheating negatively affect alimony?

California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning neither spouse needs to prove the other spouse did anything resulting in the divorce. Even if the spouse did violate the marriage terms by cheating, California would not treat the spouse differently due to their infidelity. 

Related: Divorce Rate in California: 7 Interesting Facts

 How do California courts divide assets during divorce?

California is a community property state, meaning marriage or domestic partnership registration creates a legal “community” between two people. Any property or debt one spouse gains during the marriage or partnership is joint property. 

Community property is “any property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in the state,” according to California Family Code section 760. Community property likely splits 50/50 at the end of a divorce. The state’s concept of communal property is a broad classification encompassing a wide range of assets. The state relies on a host of additional statutes that delineate whether real property or personal property is community or not, depending on various interweaving factors and stipulations.

What does California consider as separate property?

Property one spouse owns before marriage does not belong to the “community,” and the state recognizes it as separate property rather than communal property. 

Separate property also includes gifts and inheritances made to one party only, and property one acquires or earns after the divorce. Thus, the separation date is critical in so many divorces. Spouses should establish their separation date with their attorneys as soon as possible. 

As long as money or rent earned from enterprises or real estate owned before the marriage does not commingle with common assets, it will remain independent property.

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