Spousal support is often an issue that needs to be addressed in a divorce. It is most common in situations where a couple is well off and has a certain quality of life during their marriage. You may also receive these payments even if during the marriage you and your former spouse did not have a high income.

The Judicial Branch of California explains spousal support is either temporary or long-term. Temporary support helps you during your divorce, which means payments only last until the court has ordered the Dissolution of your marriage. Permanent support payments occur after the divorce, and a judge decides how long the support payments last.

Time to become self-supporting

The goal of spousal support is to help the lower-earning spouse afford regular expenses until he or she can afford them on his or her own. It is common in situations where one spouse did not work during the marriage or if one spouse earns a lot more than the other.

Sometimes, the court will award support while you attend career training or get an education so that you can get a job that allows you to take care of your own needs. If you already have training or education, the court may also award support until you find employment that will cover your expenses and provide you with a quality of life similar to that during your marriage.

Length of marriage

In many cases the length of your marriage will impact the length of support payments. The general rule is that support payments should last for half of the length of your marriage for marriages that lasted less than 10 years. In situations where your marriage lasted 10 years or more, the judge can decide to award you support longer than half of the length of your marriage or even lifelong support payments that end only upon your death or the death of your former spouse.

Domestic abuse

Domestic violence may also affect how long spousal support will continue. A judge may determine that a spouse who abused the other should pay spousal support longer than he or she otherwise would have ordered.