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How to Get Alimony in California

Posted on May 1st, 2023

Considering alimony in California

When a marriage ends in California, the court may order one partner to pay the other monthly financial support. This payment is known as alimony or spousal support and is meant to help the supported partner maintain a similar standard of living to what they had during the marriage.

If you are considering alimony in California, this guide will help you understand how to get alimony and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

How Does Alimony Work in California?


In California, alimony can last for a predetermined period or until certain events occur, such as the recipient’s remarriage or death. However, getting alimony in California is not guaranteed. Various factors, such as the length of the marriage, earning capacity of each spouse, and the standard of living during the marriage, determine the amount and duration of alimony payments, if any.

California has three types of alimony: temporary, rehabilitative, and permanent.

Temporary Alimony

Temporary spousal support is awarded during the divorce proceedings and is meant to provide some support until a final order is issued. The amount of temporary alimony is determined by assessing the financial requirements of the recipient spouse and the paying spouse’s ability to provide the support.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is awarded for a specific time and is meant to help the supported spouse gain the skills or education necessary to become self-supporting. Since it is a temporary allowance to help the recipient gain marketable skills, it can be classified as temporary alimony.

Permanent Alimony

Permanent or long-term alimony is awarded at the end of a marriage dissolution for a period of time that the court deems just and reasonable. This type of spousal support is common when the marriage is long-term, and one spouse earns significantly more than the other.

In this type of alimony, the court must consider and assess all factors outlined in Fam. Code 4320 when deciding on the amount and duration of spousal support, if any.

Getting Alimony in California

If you are seeking alimony in California, here are the steps to follow:

  • File for Divorce or Legal Separation

The first step in obtaining alimony is to file for divorce or legal separation. The filing process involves submitting a petition to the court. Once the petition is filed, a copy is served to the other spouse, who has the opportunity to respond. Filing for divorce is a complex process, and it is essential that you hire an attorney to guide you through the process.

  • Request Temporary Spousal Support

Once you have filed for divorce, you can request to receive temporary spousal support until the final court order is issued. This will provide you with financial support while the divorce proceedings are ongoing in or outside the courtroom.

You can file a request with the court or include a request for temporary spousal support in the initial divorce petition. An experienced attorney can help you determine the amount of temporary alimony you are entitled to receive.

  • Gather Relevant Financial Information

To determine the appropriate amount of alimony, it is essential to gather financial information for both you and your spouse. This can include income statements, bank statements, assets, and debts. You may be required to fill out financial disclosure forms, provide tax return copies, and any other relevant financial documentation.

  • Negotiate Spousal Support Agreement

Before going to court, you and your spouse can try to negotiate a spousal support agreement on your own or with the help of an attorney. This involves mutually agreeing on the amount and duration of spousal support payments. If an agreement is reached, it is submitted to the court for approval.

  • Attend a Court Hearing

If you and your spouse cannot agree on spousal support, a court hearing can be scheduled where a judge will determine the amount of spousal support to be paid based on several factors before making a decision.

  • Receive a Court Order

If the judge orders alimony to be paid, a court order is issued, and the paying spouse will be required to pay the receiving spouse. The court order will specify the amount, duration, and frequency of spousal payments.

Contact Our Los Angeles Spousal Support Attorneys for a Free Consultation Today

Going through a divorce can be an emotional and challenging time, and the process of obtaining alimony can add even more stress. If you are seeking alimony in California, contact the experienced Los Angeles spousal support attorneys at the Harris Family Law Group today at 310-745-8644. We can help you navigate the complex legal system, protect your rights and ensure you receive a fair and appropriate alimony award.

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