California’s 10-year rule in divorce usually refers to how the length of a couple’s marriage impacts the duration of alimony payments. Alimony, or spousal support, is not always awarded in a divorce, but it may be necessary, depending on each spouse’s income, financial assets, and how long they were married. There is a misconception that long-term alimony is only awarded after a couple has been married for at least 10 years. Alimony can be awarded even in short marriages, depending on a couple’s unique financial needs and assets.
Long-term, or permanent, spousal support is any alimony awarded after the divorce is finalized. This is different from temporary spousal support payments, which are awarded during the process of a divorce if a spouse has a financial need. When the divorce is finalized, these temporary payments end and long-term alimony can begin if it is awarded in the separation agreement.
The purpose of alimony is to provide approximate financial stability to each spouse following the divorce. These payments last until the receiving spouse can reasonably be expected to support themselves.
The court will review several factors when determining how much and how long alimony payments will last, including each spouse’s financial needs and stability. One of the biggest factors is the length of the couple’s marriage. The court calculates the length of a couple’s marriage from the date of marriage, and it excludes any periods of separation. Although long-term alimony is often called permanent alimony, it is not always permanent.
When the state divorce court has indefinite jurisdiction over alimony payments, there are specific situations that allow for payment termination. This includes:
An Orange County, CA, Divorce Lawyer can help you create a separation agreement that addresses your unique needs.
There are two other ways that the 10-year rule may impact a divorcing couple. This includes:
A: Although you’re not required to work with a divorce lawyer, it’s usually in your interests to do so. A divorce attorney can:
Working without an attorney can make the process take longer, and it may result in a separation agreement that is not in your interests.
A: The cost of a divorce attorney varies extremely based on your unique situation and if your divorce has complex issues, such as high-value assets or a contentious child custody case. The cost may range anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 or even higher. The cost also depends on factors such as:
Always talk with an attorney about their fees prior to hiring them.
A: A marriage’s duration affects the length of time that a divorce court assigns alimony payments for. If a marriage lasts 10 years or less, payments will likely last half the length of time as the marriage. If a marriage lasts longer than 10 years, alimony payments may be indefinite or have no fixed end date. Instead, these payments are terminated when the receiving spouse no longer needs them, as they have become self-supporting.
A: Every divorce is unique, and so is every divorce’s timeline to be resolved. Divorces may take anywhere from 6 months to several years. If a couple can agree on all aspects of their separation agreement and do so very quickly, the divorce will proceed quickly. The couple only has to wait California’s mandatory waiting period of 6 months before the divorce can be finalized.
A divorce agreement that is negotiated through mediation or a collaborative divorce will also likely be resolved more quickly.
A contested divorce where property division, alimony, and custody must be determined by the court may take more than a year or even several years.
If you want to know what benefits you should receive based on the length of your marriage, contact our team at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP. We know how difficult and confusing a divorce can be, and we want to provide legal support throughout your case.
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