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Spousal Support

Spousal Support (i.e., Alimony). Generally speaking, a person shall support his or her spouse (Family Code Section 4300). When marital partners separate from each other, depending on the financial circumstances, there can be a court order for temporary spousal support. Temporary spousal support is intended to keep the status quo and the court can use a computer calculation to determine what that amount is.
The person who is paying the support is sometimes called the “supporting” or “paying” spouse. The person who is receiving the support is sometimes called the “supported” spouse.

When deciding whether permanent spousal support should be ordered, the court will look to the factors contained in Family Code Section 4320. Other statutes can apply, depending on the circumstances of the marital partners.

The court may also provide a warning to the supported spouse under Family Code Section 4330(b) that he or she should make reasonable efforts to assist in providing for his or her support.

In a case where the marriage has lasted 10 years or more, the court can consider this a “marriage of long duration” under Family Code Section 4336. Typically speaking, the ability to make decisions over spousal support for such a marriage will remain with the court.


Waiver of the right to receive spousal support is an important legal issue and should be carefully considered.

It is important to recognize that judges make decisions on support in different ways. There is a great deal of discretion in the application of Family Code Section 4320 factors. While no attorney can guarantee how a judge will decide those factors,  a skilled local attorney can help with those important issues.