How is Alimony Calculated?
People thinking about getting a divorce often wonder how alimony is calculated. The way courts calculate alimony is given to us in Family Code Section 4320. There is a list of fourteen factors that the family law judge will look at to determine your alimony payments. Yesterday I covered the first four factors here. Today I will cover the next five factors of Family Code Section 4320.
The Marital Standard of Living
During your marriage were you going to fancy restaurants every night? Were you taking monthly vacations to exotic locations? Or were you staying at home every night with a bottle of wine? Courts take the amount of money you spent on your lifestyle and average it out over the total years of your marriage. They then tell you that your spouse is entitled to half of that figure even after the marriage is over. That means not only will you have to support yourself after the divorce ends, but you will continue to support your ex-spouse so that he or she can maintain the same living standard that you had while married. This is a very tricky calculation and is best done with an attorney and a forensic accountant.
Obligations and Assets
Spousal support is not meant to bankrupt you. Courts therefore take into account your obligations and assets. These are the properties that you own and the debt that you are in. This can include mortgages, credit card debt, car loan debt, and other loans that you might have. So for example if you own a home together with your spouse and you owe $200,000 on it, the court will factor that in.
Duration of Marriage
This one I am sure everybody has heard of in California. The longer your marriage, the longer you will have to pay alimony every month. In California, a marriage of ten years is considered a long term marriage. The difference between this and a short marriage is that you are on the hook for alimony for a longer time after the divorce ends. This is just a simple and basic explanation. Many more factors have to be looked before you know how long you will have to pay alimony.
Ability to Get Gainful Employment
This is an important factor not only in calculating how much alimony you will pay, but when the alimony will end. If the spouse you are paying alimony to has the ability to get a good job after the divorce, then you will pay less alimony. In addition, if he or she can get a good job quickly, it might mean that you can end your alimony payments earlier. However, there is no guarantee. How do you figure out if your ex will be able to get a good job? Attorneys bring an expert to answer this question called a vocational evaluator. This expert can look at your ex-spouse’s education and employment history and find out if he or she can get a decent job and support themselves.
The Age and Health of the parties
What happens if your spouse has a chronic illness that can prevent them from finding a job? What happens if he or she is old and needs daily help from a nurse? These will definitely factor into how much alimony you will have to pay. If your ex is in bad health that might prevent her from getting a job, then you will be responsible for making up that in alimony.
How is alimony calculated? A variety of ways. Come back tomorrow where I will discuss the last factors.
How can I help?
If you have any more question about spousal support, divorce, or child custody please contact me for a consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 626-227-1176 and ask to speak with me. Connect with me on Google+.
For more information on how to lower child support payments, click here. Click here to go to my website’s section on child custody to learn some more basics.
Disclaimer: This blog post, and other blog posts by me, are not meant to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship will be formed by these blog posts.