There is no set dollar or percentage amount for spousal support, according to LegalZoom. A common way of calculating spousal support, or alimony, is to take up to 40 percent of the paying spouse's net income (less child support) and subtracting 50 percent of the supported spouse's net income.
Spousal support, or alimony, can be determined and agreed upon by the spouses or by the courts, according to LegalZoom. It can also be waived by the recipient, through a written document signed by both parties. When calculating the award, child support payments take precedence over spousal support.
Although it's not mandatory in most states, the courts consider spousal support when divorce creates financial hardships or a decrease in the standard of living for a spouse, explains LegalZoom. The law acknowledges that both parties should live at a similar financial level as they did during the marriage.
Additionally, spousal support is generally not considered by the courts when the marriage lasted less than three years or both spouses are financially self-sufficient, reports LegalZoom. If awarded, support payments can be structured according to an unlimited period of time or a fixed period or they can be subject to end under certain provisions, such as death or remarriage of the recipient.