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Is There A Cap On How Long Spousal Support Can Be Paid?

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If you are going through a divorce, you may wonder about spousal support. How long will it last? Can it be terminated early? What circumstances would lead to that happening? In this blog post, our spousal support attorneys at Gill Law Group, PC will discuss spousal support and how the duration of payments is often dictated based on the length of the marriage. We will also examine two cases for early termination of spousal support and how retirement may affect payments.

Duration of Spousal Support Payments

In California, the duration of your spousal support payments largely depends on the length of your marriage with your spouse.

If Your Marriage Lasts Less Than 10 Years

In California, if your marriage lasted less than ten years, spousal support will generally be paid for half the length of the marriage. So, if you were married for four years, spousal support would typically last for two years. There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if one spouse gave up a promising career to stay home and care for the family, the court may award spousal support for longer.

If Your Marriage Lasted More Than Ten Years

There is no set duration for spousal support for marriages that lasted ten years or more. The court will look at several factors to determine how long spousal support should be paid, and the payments may be modified or terminated based on a change in circumstances.

Factors the court will consider when making a decision about spousal support include:

  • The age and health of both spouses
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • The contributions each spouse made to the marriage (including childrearing, homemaking, and career building)
  • The ability of each spouse to pay spousal support
  • Any tax consequences of the spousal support order

Early Termination Of Spousal Support

Two main circumstances can lead to the early termination of spousal support: the death of one party or the remarriage of the receiving spouse. However, spousal support can be reduced if termination is unavailable for your current situation.

Death of One Party

If one party passes away, spousal support will automatically terminate as there are no longer two parties to the relationship. While unfortunate, this can be difficult when the paying party passes away during the court-designated payment period, as the receiving party still might be relying on these funds for their financial stability.

Remarriage of Receiving Party

If the receiving party remarries, their spousal support will also terminate; however, the court must approve this termination before payments can cease. If you are a paying party and your ex-spouse remarries, you will need to file a motion for termination of spousal support based on this remarriage and seek court approval before stopping payments, as you still are financially responsible until the court deems you are not.

This early termination occurs due to the new marriage of the receiving spouse and the assumption that the receiving party and their new spouse can financially provide for themselves without the need for this funding.

If the paying party remarries, spousal support will continue to be paid. Since this remarriage does not directly impact the receiving party’s financial stability, spousal support will need to be paid until the natural termination date of the payments, the remarriage of your ex-spouse, or the death of one party.

Retirement And Spousal Support

If the person paying spousal support wants to retire, they can ask the court to modify the spousal support order. The court will consider several factors, including the age of the spouse seeking to retire, the health of both spouses, and whether the retirement is voluntary or involuntary. If the court finds that retirement would cause a significant change in circumstances, they may modify or terminate the spousal support order.

We Are Here For You

At Gill Law Group, PC, our experienced family law attorneys understand how spousal support can make or break your financial situation. If you are unsure about your current spousal support order, our attorneys can review it with you and answer any questions you may have.

Do you have questions about the termination of your spousal support order? Do you believe that your spousal support order can be terminated early? Schedule a complimentary consult with one of our experienced spousal support attorneys today by calling (888) 392-1941.