California is one of a few states where you can benefit in alimony payments from staying married 10 years or longer. In this situation, the spouse earning less income retains the right to be paid alimony for as long as he or she needs, and as long as the paying spouse can pay.
If you waive support, it can’t be modified later regardless of the length of your marriage.
Depending on the situation, you and your spouse could decide on a fixed spousal support payment for a certain period of time. It’s also possible to mutually waive your alimony rights in your divorce agreement. If you waive support, it can’t be modified later regardless of the length of your marriage.
If it is designated in your settlement agreement that support is non-modifiable, then the court will not extend alimony beyond the designed time regardless of whether or not you were married for more than 10 years.
The Social Security Administration also considers marriages that last longer than 10 years to be a long-term marriage. This means you could be eligible for Social Security benefits depending on your former spouse’s earnings when you reach retirement age. If you are remarried, those benefits are not applicable.
If eligible, the derivative social security benefits will be half the amount your former spouse is able to collect. This is based on his or her earnings over the course of their career. The benefits of a long-term marriage may make it worthwhile to stay together longer or delay finalizing your divorce until you’ve reached the 10 year milestone.
If your spouse is a member of the military and you were married 10 years or longer while he or she was on active duty, you may also be eligible for retirement pay. If so, you’ll qualify for direct enforcement, meaning a percentage of your former spouse’s retirement pay goes directly to you from the military finance office.