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I live in CA, and would like to file for divorce from my wife. We have been married for 23 yrs, I am 52 and she is 62.

San Francisco, CA |

She used to work throughout her career but about 7 yrs ago, she quit her job and never did get around to finding another one as promised. I make enough money to support us both financially. Will I have to pay her alimony permanently? How will her social security income change the amount of alimony?

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Attorney answers 3


There are a number of factors that the court will consider in determining spousal support.

You might consider starting at the calculator at the url below, which only takes into account a few of the factors.

Good luck

The above is not intended to be legal advice, but may be used for general information. Please contact an attorney for specific help tailored to your needs.


There are two types of spousal support--temporary and permanent. ITemporary support is paid during the pendency of the divorce and based upon a showing of need (by the payee) and ability to pay (by the payor). Permanent support (though not technically "permanent") is paid from date of divorce onward. During the pendency of the divorce, the person needing support would need to file a motion for temporary spousal support. Then, as part of the divorce issues needing resolution, the payee would ask the court for "permanent" support. In long-term marriages, the support calculator referenced by my colleague would not be solely relied upon in setting permanent support. The court would also look to factors outlined in Family Code 4320. If your wife is currently or expected to receive social security in the near future, that income will also be a FACTOR to be considered.

Whether or not your wife is entitled to spousal support is a complicated issue--and as such, cannot be appropriately addressed in this response. You might want to consider speaking to an attorney willing to provide you with a free consultation.

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Please understand that there is no "alimony" in California - it is called "spousal support" and the court has the authority to order either the husband or the wife to pay spousal support to the other upon divorce. But, whether or not spousal support is ordered by the court is at the discretion of the judge, it is not mandatory. The California Courts website has an explanation that you may find helpful. Go to and click on "Self Help" and click on "Divorce and Separation" and click on "Spousal/Partner Support." You may want to seek out the services of a family law mediator or collaborative attorney to help you and your wife resolves this issues without fighting in court.

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