In California, monthly alimony or “spousal support” may be ordered by the court or agreed upon by the spouses as part of their settlement agreement to be paid by one spouse to the other after a divorce.
The purpose of alimony is to alleviate any unfair economic burdens that may befall the lower-wage-earning spouse or the non-wage-earning spouse after a divorce takes place. Alimony awards can vary greatly in amount and length of time for which it must be paid. The basics of California spousal support (or alimony) laws are discussed in this article. FindLaw also provides state-specific links to alimony court forms and instructions.
Enforcing Spousal Support
Alimony is a more difficult type of support to enforce. Unlike child support, where non-payment can result in the wage garnishing, liens and other such enforcement measures to ensure that the support is paid, spousal support can be enforced if the payee spouse takes the payer spouse to court in a contempt proceeding. This of course, requires an additional step and expense of the spouse receiving payments.
Alimony payments will cease on the recipient spouse’s remarriage or death. Otherwise, depending on the type of alimony and the ordered or agreed upon term of payment, the payer spouse is obligated to continue to make monthly payments.
Furthermore, with respect to enforcement, contempt is not the only enforcement method. You may enforce spousal support through Department of child support services if you have a pending case for child support. In addition, you can enforce it via bank levy and wage garnishments also.
Furthermore, in California the duration of spousal support depends on the duration of the marriage. In marriages of short duration (under 10 years) the duration is for ½ length of marriage. In long-term marriages (10 years plus) it is until the death of either party or remarriage of supported party.