Divorce and Spousal Support; What Police Officers Should Know

Feb 1, 2023 | Knowledge

One of the most common questions individuals have when contemplating divorce is regarding alimony or spousal support.

In California, alimony is referred to as spousal support; it seems, in part, to get rid of the stigma behind the term alimony. Spousal support is designed to ensure that the lower-wage earning spouse is able to maintain a comparable lifestyle when divorced. For those getting divorced, the two questions are always how much will it be and how long will I have to pay it?

How Long Will Spousal Support Last?

The length of payment it’s generally easy to calculate in the state of California.  The amount of spousal support that must be paid is determined on a case-by-case basis. Generally, temporary spousal support will be set according to the same calculation as child support through either the disso-master or x-spouse program. However, long-term spousal support takes into account several factors and is more difficult to determine.

How Long Will Spousal Support Last?

For marriages over ten years, spousal support is generally forever or at least until the supported spouse dies or remarries. While there are always exceptions to the rule, end courts generally would like to see spouses become self-sufficient; that is the general rule for long-term marriages in California. For marriages lasting less than ten years, or short-term marriages, spousal support generally lasts for half the length of the marriage period. For example, if the marriage was six years, spousal support will be paid for three years.
If your divorce case is one in which spousal support needs to be determined, especially if it is a long-term marriage, it is highly recommended that you consult with a family law attorney.


  • Brandi Harper

    Brandi Harper is a managing partner at the Castillo Harper Law Firm in Southern California. The firm focuses on representing first responders in administrative, criminal, civil, and family law matters.