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Does Fault Act As A Determinant Of Alimony?

“Alimony – the ransom that the happy pay to the devil.”
-H.L. Mencken (Satirist)

Many divorcees have bemoaned the enduring obligations of alimony over time. In recent years, the state of California has begun to move away from awarding permanent or long-term spousal support for lesser-income ex-spouses.  In fact California courts may have many nuanced differences in the way alimony is awarded than you might expect.

Spousal Support Determining Factors

California courts look a number of things to determine whether or not alimony is appropriate. When alimony is determined to be necessary the amount be based two main factors:

  • The financial needs that are established by the lesser-income spouse
  • The lesser-income spouse’s earning capacity

One thing that comes as a surprise to many divorcing couples is that California courts do not look at fault as a determining factor in determining which spouse has to pay support. Neither is fault a consideration when deciding the amount of support that is ordered.  In many other states fault is a determinant in alimony. Spousal support in those states that do recognize fault can be considerably affected. Fault could increase alimony for the at-fault spouse or completely nullifying it from being received by the at-fault spouse in those states. If divorce is imminent for you and your spouse, it may be helpful to know that California is a no-fault state.

Domestic Violence (Rather Than Fault)

Although fault is not a consideration, domestic violence is. If you are accused of domestic violence, it could negatively affect your alimony hearing. Domestic violence victims are often more likely to receive alimony from the alleged offender. The reverse is also true. If the ex-spouse receiving alimony is guilty of domestic violence, California courts will automatically overturn support orders.

At the Law Office of Ann A. Thomson, you will receive the focused attention and individualized support you need. 

Contact Ann A. Thomson for a Free Consultation

To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your spousal support (alimony) needs, please call our Orange County office at 562-431-4333 or send Ann an e-mail now to request an appointment.


From offices in Seal Beach, the Law Office of Ann A. Thomson serves clients throughout Southern California in communities such as Seal Beach, Santa Ana, Brea, Yorba Linda, Fullerton, Corona Del Mar, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Anaheim, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Norwalk, Torrance, Rancho Palos Verdes and Los Angeles.