Finding an accurate spousal support calculator can be quite challenging to say the least. In fact, laws can vary so greatly that each state will have completely different requirements, making alimony calculations very difficult. Fortunately, there are some ways to assist you in your search. In addition, there are some "ballpark" averages you can use, just to get a rough idea of what to expect in alimony payments. While you may not find a good spousal support calculator for your state, you will be able to figure out how the payments are determined, without too much trouble. Here's how you can do it.
The term spousal support is used as a synonym for alimony in California, and other states. The calculators for that state may or may not be the same as your state, if it's not California, but it will give you an idea. There are also some ways to get bigger alimony payments. Here are some rough ideas of the formulas, which vary by county:
The payer will remit 35% of their net income, minus 45% of the recipient's net income. This generality assumes that there are child obligations as well. This is one area where spousal support calculators will vary greatly. Each area may have their own formula to determine the payments.
When you assume no children in the spousal support calculator, the payer remits 40% of their net income, minus 50% of the recipient's net income.
Of course, this is going to vary greatly by state, and even occasionally by counties within each state. This is really nothing more than a rough estimate, as stated. The spousal support calculator will need to be adjusted.
In some situations, the payments are lowered over time. Often called step downs, this helps to ensure the recipient is attempting to secure additional work, save money, or anything else needed to prepare for the loss of payments. When courts apply their spousal support calculators to determine payments, this will be key.
Finding a specific area's formula:
To truly determine alimony payments, you will need to find what formulas your state, and possibly your county use for alimony payment calculations. As noted, it's going to vary. Try searching "alimony payment formula" followed by the state you live in to find tailored results. When you find the state site, try to narrow it by county, if you can. This will make it easier to determine spousal support payments. You will likely need to use your own calculator to figure out the exact amounts. Thankfully, you can find most of this information online without too much trouble. You may need to do a little work to determine your area's spousal support calculator, but it can be done.
How are the formulas determined?
When each state sets up their spousal support calculator and formula, they look at many factors to determine the right alimony payments during the divorce proceedings. Each state, and sometime each county within the same state will look at these things differently when they apply their spousal support calculator, to determine the right payments. Some of the factors will include:
The recipient's earning power: This is really sort of a rough idea. It can be based on current income, educational levels, and many other factors. The formula is rough with this one.
The property and assets of each party: This is really determined by the courts. Not all property and assets will apply to the spousal support calculator the court will use.
The debts of each party: Again, this is really determined by the courts more than anything during the divorce proceedings.
The duration of the marriage: Longer marriages will generally equal higher spousal support payments when the courts use their calculators.
The needs of dependent children: Will raising the children interfere with the recipient's earning power? If so, the alimony payments will likely be higher.
Age and health: The age and overall health of the recipient will be taken into account with the spousal support calculator, to help determine the proper alimony payments.
Time: This can refer to how long it will take the recipient to enter the workforce. It could include time for education and job training. The spousal support calculator the court uses will ultimately determine this, so it will vary greatly. This will be determined by the court during the divorce.
How long will I need to make payments?
This will really depend on your situation, more than anything else. When the courts use their spousal support calculator to determine the right length of alimony, they will look at many factors. Some of the factors will include:
Self sufficiency: How long will it take for the recipient to become self sufficient? If the recipient has no real job experience, or formal education, the payments may last longer. In the case of long marriages, generally ten years or more, the payments can last for life. This will vary greatly. The spousal support calculator and formulas will be used to determine this in your state or county.
Court discretion: It's important to keep in mind the ability of the court to use discretion to alter the spousal support calculator. In some cases, alimony payments may be extended, reduced, or on occasion, eliminated completely. For example: In long marriages, when one spouse was not able to work or go to school, because of child rearing, the courts are likely to extend payments. This is really one of those judgment calls the court can make.
Death or marriage: Generally speaking, if either party dies, the payments are ceased. This will vary a little, but it's a good general rule. In addition, if the recipient gets remarried, the payments are very likely to cease. Again, there is some room for court discretions, but these general rules usually hold fairly true.
As you can see, there really is a lot that goes into any state's spousal support calculator. Generally speaking, the amount of payments deemed by the court will vary greatly on a case by case basis. The attorneys and judges will play a major role in the amount you will have to pay. Keep in mind that