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When may courts order long-term spousal support?

The question of whether you will pay your spouse alimony could be important to you even if you own substantial wealth. It is not unusual for a court to order temporary support during a divorce. Whether you will pay long-term support is another question.

Generally, many spouses who end their marriages or domestic partnerships do not end up paying long-term support to an ex. The California courts website explains that the nature of the relationship can be a decisive factor.

Possible reasons for long-term support

You might not have to make support payments if your marriage has only lasted a short while. State courts are more likely to order long-term support for spouses in marriages that have endured for considerably long periods.

Additionally, a judge may look at whether you have earned much more than your spouse during the marriage. A great earning disparity may cause a judge to conclude that the low-earning spouse would be at a disadvantage in the job market and needs financial support going forward.

Long-term support in the future

Ordering support is not the only outcome. A court could decide that you do not have to pay long-term support upon the completion of your divorce. However, you may have to make payments at a later date. This is what California calls reserve spousal support.

If you have concerns about the uncertainty of reserve spousal support or any form of long-term support, California law allows couples to establish how long support will last through a signed agreement. Still, some spouses need a judge to make a determination if they cannot agree to a support settlement on their own.



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