How does a judge calculate spousal support?


Quick Answer

There is no set percentage or dollar amount for a judge to calculate spousal support, LegalZoom says. A common formula used by courts is to take up to 40 percent of the paying party's net income (subtracting out child support) and subtract 50 percent of the supported party's net income.

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Full Answer

The courts can determine the amount of spousal support, or the parties can agree on an amount, LegalZoom notes. The recipient can also waive spousal support through a document executed by both parties. When the award is calculated, child support payments come before spousal support.

Courts generally consider spousal support when a divorce creates a financial hardship or changes the standard of living for a spouse, but the support is not mandatory in most states, LegalZoom advises. The law does acknowledge that both parties should live as close to the same financial level as they did while they were married.

Spousal support is not usually considered by courts when the marriage lasted less than three years, or when both parties can support themselves financially, explains LegalZoom. If spousal support is awarded, payments may be structured within an unlimited period of time or a fixed period, or certain provisions may mandate the support ending, such as remarriage or death of the recipient.

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