Divorce in California

March 20, 2018
PIcture Of Family problem, issues concept. Father leaving his child and wife. Divorce, separation.

The Mythical 10 Year Rule

When a couple divorces after more than ten years of marriage, people think there’s a rule that says alimony is required to be paid indefinitely. This rule, however, is a myth. Truth be told, California does not have a 10 Year Rule. Here are the facts behind this myth.

California law says that when a marriage is considered “of long duration,” the court can continue making decisions about matters between the spouses, also known as retaining jurisdiction after the divorce. The court can also reevaluate its orders and modify them if it is found a change is justified. In California, a marriage longer than ten years is “of long duration”.

The duration of a marriage can affect alimony, which is where the 10 Year Rule might crop up. There’s no need to cling to a bad marriage just to earn alimony benefits. Other factors can affect alimony outside of marriage duration and include:

  • Age
  • Assets
  • Needs
  • Earnings
  • Employment

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is payments made to the lesser-earning spouse so they can maintain their original standard of living before the divorce happened. The idea is that the supported spouse will be self-supporting within a reasonable time period and spousal support payments can then cease. In the case of long term marriages, the court will decide whether to grant a lesser or great period of time for the lesser-earning spouse to receive alimony. Again, the court still retains jurisdiction over marriages of long duration after the divorce and their decision making includes alimony. While lifetime alimony is not automatic or required, there are circumstances where the court might decide the lesser-earning spouse will never be able to support themselves.

If you were part of a long-term marriage and are worried that you’ll be forced to pay huge alimony payments over a long period of time, contact the alimony attorneys at the Law Office of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich. Our law firm is prepared to help you in your alimony case to ensure the court makes a fair and sound decision. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.