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If I am married less than 2 years in California do I have to pay alimony?

Pleasanton, CA |
Filed under: Alimony

I've been married for 13 months and considering divorce. Will I be required to pay alimony and if so, how long?

Attorney Answers 2


The duration of spousal support is left to the sound discretion of the court within certain general equitable principals and guidelines. The general rule is that spousal support lasts for one half the length of the marriage, if the marriage is less than 10 years. It is possible that a particular judge/commissioner assigned to your case could decide not to order that spousal support be paid for a marriage of only 13 months. It is also possible that spousal support could be ordered to be paid for longer than 6 months (one half the length of the marriage). For example, if you married someone who was from another country and brought them the the United States and they speak little, if any English, the Court could order that you pay support for longer than 6 months. In other words, it depends on the specific facts and circumstances involved in your case and the particular judge/commissioner assigned to the matter. That being said, you and your spouse might agree that spousal support last for something like 3 months. That would be a compromise position that would limit your possible exposure to pay support for at least 6 months and guarantee your spouse support for a minimum period of time instead of risking that it could be ordered that no support be paid.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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It is very possible that you may have to pay alimony, even for a short term marriage such as yours. Temporary support, which is ordered while your divorce is pending, is based almost solely on your respective incomes. The greater the disparity between your incomes, the greater the chances are that the higher earning spouse would be required to pay temporary support. Permanent spousal support, which is not actually permanent, is the support ordered after your divorce is finalized. That support is based on 14 different factors, which you can read about in Family Code Section 4320.

Because of the short-term nature of your marriage, you will likely be limited in the amount of time you might be required to pay spousal support to approximately one-half the length of the marriage. This rule is not automatic, but it is a good guideline.

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