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What are the different types of alimony in California?

As you prepare to enter into divorce proceedings in Westminster, you may find that there will be no shortage of people prepared to offer you what might be seen as legal advice. Yet unless these people have a proven knowledge of domestic relations law, you should take what they say with the proverbial grain of salt. For example, you might be told to expect to be awarded alimony if you were not the primary income earner in your marital home. Yet alimony is not awarded in every divorce case; rather it is only reserved for those scenarios where one might have difficulty sustaining the same standard of living they enjoyed while married in the immediate aftermath of their divorce. 

Furthermore, according to Section 4320 of the California Family Code, an award of alimony is only meant to support you to the point at which you can become self-sustaining. To fulfill that purpose, the state allows for five different types of alimony. These include: 

  • Temporary alimony: Temporary alimony is just that: spousal support that is only meant to last for a predetermined period of time.
  • Rehabilitative alimony: This type of alimony obligation is meant to support you while you return to school or receive vocational training, with the end goal being to secure gainful employment on your own. 
  • Reimbursement alimony: This is compensation paid to you if you paid for your ex-spouse's schooling or professional training.
  • Lump-sum alimony: This type of alimony offers you a one-time payment to help you to financially transition into your post-divorce life.
  • Permanent alimony: This is a spousal support obligation whose term is left indefinite

Even in the case of permanent alimony, however, the court may still require that you try to become self-sustaining. The obligation ends should you choose to remarry. 

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