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What Is the 10-Year Alimony Rule?

Blogs from June, 2021

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The 10-year rule is commonly referenced law in California, but there are a lot of misconceptions about what it actually means. If you live in California and are considering getting a divorce, you might worry that the 10-year rule will affect your settlement. You should understand the 10-year alimony rule, what it isn't, and how it might affect you if you file for divorce.

Misconceptions About the 10-Year Rule

The 10-year rule sets guidelines for alimony payments for divorced couples in California. The most common misconception about the law is that you can be guaranteed alimony for the rest of your life if you're married for ten years or more.

You may have heard friends or family warn you of the 10-year rule if you're considering getting divorced, and it might make you anxious about the divorce settlement. This misinformation about the law can lead some spouses to have false confidence in their expectations for alimony. It can make others worry that they'll have to pay alimony to their ex-spouse forever. This misconception shows why it's essential to consult with an attorney on divorce laws instead of relying on common beliefs.

The Truth About the 10-Year Rule

California has a 10-year rule regarding alimony, so if you've been married for a decade, you should be familiar with the statute before filing for divorce. The general rule for alimony payments for marriages that lasted less than ten years is that the support should last for half of the length of the marriage. For example, if you and your spouse were married for eight years, the court will likely limit alimony payments to four years.

If the marriage lasted for ten years or longer, the court considers it to be of "long duration." This means that the court and the judge maintain jurisdiction over the alimony agreement indefinitely. They may require one spouse to pay alimony for more than half of the marriage length, but they can also adjust or terminate the alimony payments.

The 10-year rule does not require you to pay alimony to your ex-spouse forever. It simply states that the court may not put a specific time limit on the alimony payments. If one spouse wants to change the alimony agreement, they can bring the matter back to the court for review. It's extremely rare for alimony to last for life, so the 10-year rule should not be cause for concern even if you've been married for a long time.

Consulting with a family lawyer in your state is the best way to get informed about the relevant divorce laws affecting your settlement.

If you need support for your upcoming divorce, call our Pasadena divorce attorneys at (626) 653-4075 to schedule a case consultation today!