Can I Get Alimony While the Divorce is Pending?

Hossein Berenji, Jul 14, 2019

Divorce is usually an unsettling time for most people. Many of these feelings come from the uncertainty over what the future will bring, especially about money. It’s not uncommon for a lower-earning spouse to receive inadequate financial support in the early phases of separation. Alimony is designed to keep the lower-earning spouse at a standard of living similar to when they were married.

Are you struggling to make ends meet while the divorce in progress? Did your spouse not leave you with enough money to get by? In California, you can get temporary alimony at the beginning of the divorce process without having to wait for the final judgment. There are also other options for filing for spousal support without the need to file a divorce complaint.

You can file for spousal support even if a divorce isn’t pending. If you are a victim of domestic violence you can seek spousal support or partner support when you file for a restraining order. You can also seek spousal support if you are filing for a legal separation. To get spousal support or partner support you must be married or in a domestic partnership.

How Do I File for Support If a Divorce Is Pending?

You can request temporary alimony while you are waiting for the conclusion of your divorce matter. The spouse seeking the temporary alimony requests a hearing. At that hearing, a judge will calculate what alimony award, if any, should be given. Spousal support is referred to as either temporary alimony or permanent alimony. Temporary alimony is support paid by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse during the divorce process. Permanent alimony is support paid after the conclusion of the divorce.

Importantly, “permanent alimony” does not necessarily mean life-long alimony. Permanent alimony typically has an end date that is related to the duration of the marriage and other factors It is important to speak to an experienced attorney to who can clarify the complex issues that go into this determination.

How Is Spousal Support Calculated?

Temporary alimony and permanent alimony are calculated in different ways. A judge will typically use an established formula to calculate a temporary alimony order. These formulas vary by county.

If the spouses can’t agree to a figure for permanent alimony at the conclusion of the divorce, a judge will calculate it by using many different factors. These might include:

  • Marketable skills of the spouse seeking support
  • Income
  • Financial need
  • Length of the marriage, and
  • Ability to pay.

The court will also look at the periods of unemployment that the supported spouse incurred while attending to domestic duties.

An attorney can help you make sure that you make a strong argument for alimony during your divorce.