Alimony or spousal support is a payment of money to an ex-spouse to help him or her meet reasonable financial obligations. In higher income situations, it may also be a way to help an ex-spouse maintain a certain lifestyle. In any case, the award of spousal support must come from a judge who will decide the terms of the payments. California’s law offers very little guidance when it comes to the length of time you will have to pay spousal support, leaving a lot up to the individual judge in your case.

The Los Angeles Times explains there is a new call for alimony reform in the state. Such reform is nothing new. There are many states that have already made changes to their laws. Old, outdated laws often tend to be very unfair, especially to the person paying support. One of the biggest issues that reformers seem to go after is lifetime support awards.

In this state, a marriage that lasted under 10 years can have a spousal support award for half of the number of years of the marriage. So, the maximum award is for five years. However, marriages lasting over 10 years do not have this restriction. The law leaves the length of time for support payments up to the judge. This allows for a judge to set a lifetime payment term.

Those seeking reform want to see a maximum number of years for paying spousal support. Previously, there was a push to limit it to one year after the divorce, but the newest push is a limit of five years, which matches the law for marriages under 10 years. This information is for education and is not legal advice.