Spousal support (also called alimony) is the amount of money the court orders the higher-income-earning spouse to pay to the other spouse every month. Spousal support can be a temporary and/or a judgment order by the Court. Temporary spousal support is typically based on a formula.
A final judgment order of spousal support can have a termination date or be ordered indefinitely. In short-term marriages – generally those that are less than 10 years in length – the court will often order that spousal support be paid for a time period equal to half the length of the marriage. In marriages of long duration, the court may order support indefinitely.
A final spousal support order must be based on the factors contained in Family Code section 4320. Either spouse can ask the judge to change the support amount if there are significant changes in circumstances. A spouse can also ask the judge for help collecting (enforcing) a support order.