Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as “lifetime spousal support.”
In many cases where the court has ordered a long-term support obligation, it is still possible to step-down and ultimately terminate spousal support over time.
It is important for the supporting spouse to ensure that at the time of Judgment that the court issue a “Gavron Warning” in which the court states that it is the policy of the State that the supported spouse make efforts to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. Family Code Section 4320 (k) provides “The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time.”
In short-term marriage this is presumed to be one-half the length of the marriage. Clearly, Spousal Support is not meant to last forever. Therefore, the supporting spouse has some hope of terminating spousal support even in marriages of long duration.
A recent appellate decision the court ruled that the duty of a supporting spouse to continue to work to support their ex-spouse ends at age 65 upon eligibility for retirement.