Alimony, Spousal Support and Partner Support

Divorce or separation is the subsequent action taken by couples who have decided to end their marriage or partnership. Part of the spoils of getting into divorce or annulment is being able to ask for spousal support. Spousal Support and Partnership support are 2 different things but technically has almost the same guidelines.

Alimony is the amount/allowance granted by the judge to a spouse or partner that has the lesser income and/or who has custody of the minor children in the household after divorce or separation.  Nowadays, alimony is usually more referred to as spousal support or partner support. In California, alimony is considered temporary support just until the other spouse is able to get on their feet and be able to earn on their own but in some cases it does not work that way.

Things to be considered

In deciding to grant a spousal or partner support order, the judge has to contemplate on a lot of factors, some of it may include:

  • Duration of the marriage.
  • Physical and mental health of each spouse.
  • Age of each spouse.
  • Ability to earn income and how much each one is earning.
  • The expenditures of each spouse.
  • Does the couple have any minor children?
  • The financial history during the duration of the marriage

Computing for spousal or partner support

There is no specific way to compute for spousal or partner support. But the things that need to be considered by the judge are similar to that of being granted a spousal or partner support order. These may include:

  • Duration of the marriage.
  • The necessary amount that each spouse can live on.
  • The ability and capability to pay (this includes current and potential income).

–          Some spouses tend to withhold information on their actual earnings to avoid having to pay a higher spousal or partner support amount. Likewise, there are some support receiving spouses or partners who also do the same in order to get more money.

  • The capability to earn a living off the spouse who has custody of the minor children.
  • The physical and mental health of each spouse.
  • The age of each spouse.
  • Debts incurred and properties obtained during the duration of the marriage.

–          California is a “community state” and that means all debts and properties incurred within the duration of the marriage will be split 50/50 unless the court states otherwise.

  • There was evidence of abuse or domestic violence during the marriage or domestic partnership.
  • The effect of marriage or domestic partnership on the career of the other spouse.
  • The taxes that are due to spousal support (domestic partnerships are not recognized in the filing of state and federal taxes).

–          Spousal support is considered an exemption for the spouse who is paying and income (taxable) for the spouse receiving the support.


  • A spouse can ask for alimony even before the divorce or separation proceeding has concluded. This is called a temporary spousal support.
  • In a paternity case, a spouse cannot ask for support.
  • Spousal support cannot be granted in annulment cases because the marriage will be considered null and void. Technically, there was no marriage at all.

Some laws regarding spousal support or partner support may vary from state to state or county to county but the best thing to do is always consult a good divorce lawyer first who can advise you on what are the best options to take.

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