Perhaps you know someone in California who is unhappily married, but waits ten years before asking for a divorce. Why wait so long? Probably to take advantage of the ten year marriage rule in California. After a marriage of long standing, the supporting spouse (usually the one who makes more money) will have to help support his ex for years to come. Most likely he will have to support her until the both of them can agree that he no longer needs to, or otherwise ordered by the court.
Ten Years of More
Keep in mind that not all divorce cases of long-standing marriages are alike. Most of the time, the court cannot determine how long one spouse needs to pay alimony at the time that the divorce is finalized. In some circumstances, it can.
If Less Than Ten Years
The rules are different for marriages in California lasting less than ten years. The court can determine how long the wealthiest spouse needs to support the other. The usual determination is half of the time the couple spent married. If a couple was married four years and then divorces, the alimony will typically be for two years.