Alimony, or spousal support, is generally not mandatory in divorce proceedings. The courts have discretion (within statutory parameters) to deny spousal support altogether or to limit it in an amount and duration that reflects the ability of both parties to provide for their own needs [Marriage of Pendleton & Fireman (2000)]. The court is bound to consider 14 statutory considerations, as enumerated in the California Family Code § 4320(a)-(n); but after such consideration, it is still up to the broad discretion of the court to grant or deny the support on a case-to-case basis.

For example, the court may consider the extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage [Fam. C. § 4320 (a)]. Here, the current earning capacity of the supporting and the supported spouse will be taken into consideration.

Another thing that may determine spousal support is if there is a criminal conviction for an act of domestic violence perpetrated by one spouse against the other spouse within 5 years of the filing of the petition for divorce. In this case, “there shall be a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of proof that any award of temporary or permanent spousal support to the abusive spouse otherwise awardable pursuant to the standards of this part should not be made” [Fam. C. § 4325 (a)]. (Emphasis given)

To know more about divorce and alimony, it is advisable to work with a lawyer who is an expert in divorce and all the other issues involved. This way, the attorney would be able to properly explain, guide, and competently represent you during the dissolution proceedings.