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San Diego Alimony Attorney

In many marriages in San Diego, one spouse brings more income into the home than the other. One common scenario is when one spouse leaves the workforce to stay home and raise the children, instead of advancing in his or her career. In many situations like this, both partners may be contributing equally to the total well being of the family, but one or the other may be contributing in a way that does not produce actual income.

When a divorce occurs, the spouse who has elected to stay home for the family’s benefit will often have sacrificed earning potential and may not be able to live at his or her accustomed level after a divorce. In this and other situations where earning ability is unequal, the court may deem it appropriate to award the less financially capable spouse either temporary or permanent alimony, or spousal support, as it is referred to in California law. If you have any legal questions or concerns regarding alimony, contact us or call at (619)-232-1206 for legal help from an experienced San Diego alimony attorney at Boyd Law.

San Diego Alimony Lawyer Resources

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Why Choose Our San Diego Alimony Attorneys for Your Case?

  • Our law firm provides a high level of quality, care and experience in family law matters to each case we represent. Your lawyer will know exactly what your alimony case needs to succeed.
  • We possess extensive resources and legal knowledge on the subject of spousal support in California. Our lawyers have achieved positive resolutions for many clients over the years, while keeping a positive attorney-client relationship. 
  • Your alimony lawyer in San Diego at Boyd Law will be committed to you as our client. We will take the time to identify and pursue your specific goals for a divorce or legal separation case.


At Boyd Law in San Diego, we’re proud to have provided exceptional legal representation and support to numerous clients throughout their divorce journeys. Our commitment to personalized service, empathy, and strategic advocacy has left a lasting impact on the lives of those we’ve had the privilege to assist. Here’s what some of our clients have to say about their experiences with us:

“Karie Boyd and her team are some of the most amazing, caring lawyers out there. I have known her and her colleagues both as a colleague and as a client. I can’t say enough good things. Honest, reliable, professional, and get the job done. They helped me with two separate issues and did it fast and in a very cost-effective way. Thank you, Boyd Law!”S.D, San Diego Family Client

“For both divorce and child support/custody issues, call AMY ALLEMANN at Boyd Law. Great services, knowledgeable and tough, very tough!”Biggs, San Diego Family Client

“Matt Cadwell and his staff got me through a rough time in my divorce proceedings. His office was highly professional and responsive. Matt kept me informed throughout the process. I was finally able to convince my wife to use a mediator instead of her nasty, unreasonable, and expensive attorney and Mr. Cadwell referred us to an excellent mediator that we’re using to complete our divorce. Boyd Law is the place to start in the scary, emotional process of divorce. Highly recommended.” Todd, Orange County Divorce Client

Our clients’ stories inspire us to continue providing the highest level of legal representation and personalized service. If you’re facing a family law matter, we’re here to stand by your side, just as we have for countless clients before you. Your well-being and future are our top priorities, and we’re committed to helping you navigate this challenging time with confidence.

What Is Alimony or Spousal Support?

Alimony – also known as spousal maintenance, spousal support or domestic partner support – is a payment that one spouse may be court-ordered to pay the other after a legal separation or divorce cases in California. It can also be awarded as part of a domestic violence restraining order case. The point of an alimony award is to enable the recipient to maintain the standard of living that he or she enjoyed during the marriage.

Spousal support is not mandatory, nor is it awarded in every divorce or legal separation case in California. It is reserved for cases where there is a disparity in how much either spouse earns, especially if the lower earner makes less due to sacrifices made for the community during the marriage. If the lesser earner displays financial need and the higher earner would not be financially harmed by making the payment, alimony may be awarded by the courts.

Determining Alimony under California Law

California state law gives the family courts a great deal of discretion in determining if an award of alimony is appropriate, and if so, how much and for how long. A couple may agree between themselves on temporary or permanent spousal support. Otherwise, your family law attorney will help you document the various factors that go into the court’s decision on the amount and duration of support; these may include:

  • Whether the earning capacity of each divorcing spouse is enough to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
  • What marketable skills the party applying for support possesses, the current demand for those skills in the marketplace, or the amount of time and the cost of education or job training to develop those skills or to acquire a new set of marketable skills
  • How much the person requesting support gave up in current and future earning capacity as a result of leaving the workforce to perform domestic duties, such as caring for the home and raising children
  • How much the supported spouse contributed to the supporting spouse’s career and earning capability, for example, by providing for the family while the other was attending school to obtain a college degree or professional certification
  • Whether the supporting party is capable of paying alimony, based on earnings, unearned income, assets, and lifestyle
  • The needs of each party, in accordance with the standard of living while married
  • The age and health of each party
  • The assets and obligations of each party, including assets separate from community property
  • How long the couple were married
  • The ability of the supported party with child custody to work outside the home without a significant negative impact on the children
  • Whether there is any documented history of domestic violence
  • The tax consequences to each party
  • How much time will be reasonably needed for the party being supported to become self-supporting

Your interests are best served by having a skilled and experienced spousal support attorney craft arguments that support your interests and present a well-document case to the court.

Do You Have to Be Married a Certain Number of Years to Get Alimony?

No. Contrary to popular belief, there is no minimum number of years that a couple must have been married for one of the parties to be eligible for alimony in California. There is no specific minimum duration before a spouse can request spousal support. The California courts base alimony decisions on a range of other factors – mainly, the marital standard of living and the financial situations of both parties. However, the duration of any alimony that is awarded can be based in part on the length of the couple’s marriage.

Temporary vs. Permanent Alimony  

Temporary and permanent alimony do not refer to the duration of a San Diego spousal support order in California. The names are misleading; they refer to the stage of the divorce or legal separation process at which alimony is awarded. Temporary alimony is a court-ordered arrangement that is given while a legal dissolution of marriage is still pending. It is a monthly form of support payments that must be made by one spouse to the other while the family law case is still underway. Permanent alimony or long-term spousal support is ordered at the end of a case, such as in a divorce judgment decree. Despite the name, it will not last permanently except in rare alimony cases.

How Long Does Alimony Last in California?

The length of time or duration of a spousal support award will depend on the circumstances of the unique case. In general, the rule is that alimony will last for half the length of a marriage that lasted less than 10 years. In a marriage that lasted longer than 10 years, the court may not set a specific alimony duration. Instead, the spousal maintenance award will last until the paying party can prove that the financial support is no longer necessary. For instance, if the recipient gets a higher-paying job or remarries.

In some cases, the family courts in San Diego will not assign a specific date for alimony payments to end. Instead, the court order will last indefinitely while the courts periodically review the arrangement to determine if this type of financial support is still appropriate. Typically, San Diego spousal support will only endure as long as the recipient has a financial need. The goal is for the supported party to become financially self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. If the recipient is not taking steps to reach this goal, the courts may end the alimony award early.

Contact our San Diego Alimony Lawyers

When alimony is a matter of contention in your divorce, having the San Diego divorce attorneys of the Boyd Law Firm in your corner is the best way to protect your rights and interests. We have a superior record of obtaining sufficient spousal support for our clients that they are able to maintain the lifestyle to which they are accustomed. For a free consultation with one of our highly experienced family law attorneys in San Diego, contact Boyd Law in San Diego to arrange for a free consultation for the divorce process. Have our family law team working for you will ensure that no factor is overlooked in presenting your case for a fair support determination. Don’t wait; contact us or call us at (619)-232-1206 today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Alimony?

Alimony is a court-ordered payment from one spouse to the other after a divorce or separation. Its purpose is to help the lower-earning or non-earning spouse maintain a similar standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage.

How is Alimony Determined?

Alimony is determined by considering various factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial situation, their earning capacities, and contributions made during the marriage. Courts also take into account factors like age, health, and potential needs of both parties.

Is Alimony Always Awarded?

Alimony is not automatically granted in every divorce case. Courts evaluate the circumstances and may decide that it’s not necessary if both parties have similar earning capacities or if the marriage was of short duration.

How Long Does Alimony Last?

It depends. The duration of alimony varies based on factors such as the length of the marriage, the recipient’s ability to become self-supporting, and whether there are any agreed-upon time limits. It can be temporary (rehabilitative) or long-term, depending on the situation.

Can Alimony Orders Be Modified?

Yes, alimony orders can be modified under certain circumstances. If there’s a substantial change in either party’s financial situation, health, or other relevant factors, you can request a modification.

Is Alimony Taxable?

As of recent tax law changes, alimony payments are no longer tax-deductible for the payer or considered taxable income for the recipient. This change applies to divorce agreements executed after December 31, 2018.

Can I Get Alimony After a Short Marriage?

While alimony is commonly associated with long-term marriages, it can still be awarded after a short marriage if the recipient spouse faces economic hardship or requires financial support to transition to a self-sufficient lifestyle.

Can I Waive Alimony in a Prenuptial Agreement?

Yes, you can include alimony waivers or specific alimony terms in a prenuptial agreement. However, for such provisions to be enforceable, they must meet legal requirements and be fair to both parties.

What Happens if My Ex-Spouse Stops Paying Alimony?

If your ex-spouse stops paying court-ordered alimony, you can take legal action to enforce the order. This may involve seeking court intervention to ensure compliance.

Do I Need an Attorney to Handle Alimony Matters?

While it’s possible to navigate alimony matters without an attorney, having a skilled divorce attorney by your side can ensure that your rights are protected, and your interests are represented effectively during negotiations or court proceedings.

Locations We Serve

We serve many locations in San Diego including:

La Mesa | Rancho Peñasquitos | Point Loma | Clairemont | North Park | South Park | Old Town | Balboa Park | Bankers Hill | East Village | National City | | La Jolla | San Ysidro | Normal Heights | Hillcrest | Little Italy | University Heights | Gaslamp Quarter | Mission Hills | Bay Park | Bay Ho | Pacific Beach | Paradise Hills | Mission Valley  | Torrey Pines | Encinitas | Solana Beach | El Cajon