Spousal support is a unique part of a divorce because it is up to the discretion of the judge with minimal strict rules and guidelines. The judge can issue it or not and the amount of support could be anything.
The Judicial Branch of California explains the law does give some guidance to the court in considering spousal support to ensure fairness. The main guideline is that this payment is only for situations where one spouse needs extra financial support. Financial and emotional need plays a huge role in any decision the judge makes.
When considering need, the judge will look at your earning capacities. He or she will want to see the type of education and training you have, along with your work history. These things enable the judge to determine if you both have fair and comparable opportunities and abilities.
The judge will also take a look at what life was like during your marriage, including the standard of living. Alimony can help you to bot be able to maintain that standard.
A judge will also consider the contribution to the household you each made during your marriage. This gives weight to spouses who were stay at home parents for the things they did for the family that was nonmonetary yet still valuable.
The court will also consider if there was domestic violence in the marriage. It could award support for emotional duress.
A judge also will consider the length of your marriage as it plays a role in how long support payments will last. For example, the general rule for marriages under ten years is support lasts for half the length of the marriage. For marriages over ten years, support may not have an end date or last as long as the marriage.