What’s The Difference Between Temporary Alimony And Permanent Alimony?

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsAlimony payments are not all designed the same way, there are in fact, multiple ways a court or mediation specialist and attorneys could structure alimony payments. Depending on your specific situation and the needs of both parties, you may find yourself with an alimony order that’s temporary or permanent. Here’s a look at how the two differ and under what circumstances both may be enforced.

Temporary Support

Temporary alimony is usually given during the time the divorce proceedings are underway.  It is created to help a non-working spouse or someone who needs the financial support of their partner, to get through the months leading up to the actual divorce when a more permanent solution will be decided upon.

When is temporary support granted?

This kind of alimony or spousal support is typical of the period of separation or in cases where the marriage annulment has been applied for, besides the more conventional divorce proceedings stage. A document called the Request for Order is to be filed at the local family court, after which both spouses must then submit Income and Expense Declarations. This declaration contains all financial information on each of them and is used to determine the financial status and needs of each spouse. While there are specific guidelines in place in each state, the exact case is dealt with at the discretion of the court where the financial motions are filed. The court may choose to not grant temporary support or temporary alimony at all, and in cases where alimony is granted temporarily, the terms are decided by the court.

Permanent Alimony

Once a divorce proceeding heads to its final stages of closure, the court will decide whether the particular case requires conditional/short-term alimony to be granted or if a more permanent solution is required. The latter is usually chosen if one spouse has no income and the duration of the marriage is suitably long. It is also up to the divorce attorney of the spouse seeking alimony to ensure all necessary documentation is presented to support a case for this kind of permanent alimony. If one partner has given up their career to support the marriage and bring up the kids and will find it near impossible to get back into the workforce, it could make a case for permanent alimony. Ultimately however, whether or not permanent spousal support depends on the negotiation powers and prowess of your divorce attorney and the discretion of the judge.

The connection between temporary and permanent alimony

No matter how extensive the background work was in determining the temporary alimony, this is not used to ascertain the terms of the permanent spousal support. In essence, permanent and temporary alimony are two completely separate court mandated orders. One does not have bearing on the other.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”