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What are the different types of alimony awarded in California?

If you were the primary wage earner in your home in Stockton, then you may go in to your divorce proceedings expecting to be asked to support your ex-spouse through alimony. This is understandable, given that the court wants to ensure that both of you are able to enjoy a similar standard of living to the one you achieved while married. However, you likely also expect that your ex-spouse will move on with their life and either re-marry or progress in a career to the point of being able to support themselves. Should you, then, be expected to continue to pay then alimony indefinitely? 

Section 4320 of the California Family Code states that an alimony obligation is created with "(t)he goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time." What qualifies as "a reasonable period of time," however, differs from case to case. The unique circumstances of your case also determine which type of alimony you may be asked to pay. 

The different types of alimony awarded in California include: 

  • Temporary alimony: Paid while you and your ex-spouse are going through your divorce proceedings
  • Lump-sum alimony: A one-time payment made in lieu of a property settlement
  • Reimbursement alimony: Paid to reimburse your ex-spouse for any contributions or sacrifices they made to help further your career
  • Rehabilitative alimony: Paid until your ex-spouse is able to secure gainful employment
  • Permanent alimony: Paid indefinitely

Permanent alimony may seem to be counter to what the goal of alimony is as stated in California's laws. Yet if that is the type of alimony your ex-spouse is awarded, and they re-marry, your obligation to pay ends. 

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