Spousal or Partner Support – What is it?

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Couple on park bench

In California, when two people separate or divorce, the law tries to ensure that each former spouse or partner has a just and reasonable amount of money to live on. The amount considered “just and reasonable” is based on many different factors including:

  • the standard of living established during the marriage or registered domestic partnership,
  • the age and health of both people,
  • how long they were married,
  • how much each earns or could earn on their own,
  • the expenses of each,
  • the number of children at home, and
  • how they handled their finances when they were together.

Often, the former spouses or partners can agree on the amount of money for support that they both think is fairly reasonable.  However, if they cannot agree, the court may be requested to order Opens new window one former spouse or partner to pay the other an amount for a period of time that the court determines is just and reasonable.

If the two people were married, this is called "spousal support" Opens new window (alimony). If the two people were in a registered domestic partnership, this is called "partner support."
(See California Family Code, Section 4320) Opens new window

In this section you will find information about what to do:

It will help you understand what to do:

This section also has answers for your Frequently Asked Questions about spousal or partner support, and information about the forms you will need for your case.

To view some short videos with general information about how California's court system works, click here. Opens new window

To get the information you need to get started, you can use the "drop down" menu at the left side of this page, or you can click on the "Next" button at the bottom of the page. 



This website’s general information is very helpful for everyone in California.
To find your county court’s website to learn about extra forms or procedures, click here.


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If you want help finding what you need, you can email us at virtualselfhelp@contracosta.courts.ca.gov.

You will receive a response within one week.