Family Code Section 4320 outlines several factors courts use to calculate long term alimony. Courts calculate long term spousal support by taking into account the “marital standard of living.” They want to know what kind of lifestyle you had with your spouse during your marriage. The goal here is to calculate your lifestyle to get your alimony payments that you will pay.
So pretty simple right? If both of you were going to nice restaurants and driving fast cars, then your spousal support payments will be high. If, on the other hand, you had a lot of money but drove a Prius and lived in a simple house, your alimony will be a lot lower.
Family Code Section 4320 Factors
So let’s breakdown the fourteen factors that courts use to get your alimony. I will break this down into three entries. Below are the first four factors.
The Marketable Skill Of The Supported Party
What kind of job did your ex-spouse have while you were married? Were they unemployed and taking care of the children? This matters a lot because this factor also includes the job market for those skills at the time of divorce. If they had a job that is no longer in high demand at the time of the divorce, expect to make up for this by paying more spousal support.
Future earning capacity
Courts want to know the extent to which the supported party’s future earning potential is impaired due to unemployment. If your ex-spouse was unemployed because he or she was taking care of the children, you have to factor in how hard it will be for your ex-spouse to get a job that matches their previous skill before they started staying home. Complicated? Yes, extremely. At this point couples may bring an expert to calculate the future earnings potential. This isn’t an easy task and oftentimes both couples have their own experts with different conclusions.
Contribution to education
Did your spouse contribute to you earning your masters, MBA, or undergraduate degree? Do you have any professional licenses that your ex-spouse can claim that they supported you while you were obtaining it? Then you will have to factor this into account for your alimony payments.
Ability to Pay Spousal Support
At the end of the day, courts are pretty practical. They know that divorce leaves spouses financially drained. The whole point of spousal support is not to punish one of the spouses by making him or her pay an enormous amount of alimony. This factor here takes into account the supporter spouse’s current financial situation and job so that they are not penalized if they are not making that much money.
That takes care of the first four factors. Come back tomorrow for the next group of factors that I will be talking about.
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