California residents going through divorce may wonder about support obligations such as alimony. The circumstances surrounding both the years of marriage and the divorce could impact the court’s decisions about ordering alimony payments. Although a divorce is a means of severing ties, alimony can result in an extension of the connection between two parties because of financial obligations. Some may choose to forego alimony payments to ensure that the ties are completely ended.
The duration of a marriage plays a significant role in the amount of time a support-owing spouse may have to pay alimony. If a marriage ends before it has reached the 10-year mark, for example, a spouse’s alimony obligation would typically last only half as long as the marriage lasted. If the marriage lasts for more than 10 years, however, the duration of alimony could be much longer if not indefinite. The amount of support is typically computed based on the differences in income between the two parties. However, additional factors such as the standard of living during the marriage or the ability of the support-owing party to pay alimony could also figure into an alimony order.
An individual who has been out of the work environment during a marriage might use their alimony income to retrain for a new work opportunity, especially if their alimony payments will only last for a few years. In other cases, an individual might choose to forego payments because they are able to transition into a self-supporting status right away.
Although alimony might be ordered in a court setting, some couples choose alternative legal options for arriving at an agreement over spousal support. A lawyer with experience in family law might recommend alternative dispute resolution methods such as collaborative divorce or mediation to reach an agreement over terms.