How courts determine spousal support in California
Spousal support in divorce cases eases the financial transition from dual-income to single-income households or helps a stay-at-home spouse while they establish a new household and find work.
If you wonder how courts determine spousal support amounts, there are several factors considered.
Spousal support is not gender-specific
The overwhelming belief is that spousal support is something only women receive in a divorce, but that is not the case. In fact, spousal support calculations and awards depend on financial standings, not gender. The lower-income spouse, or the stay-at-home spouse, typically receives spousal support.
The length and nature of the marriage matters
Judges consider the duration of the marriage because longer marriages often mean more support is necessary. In addition, if one spouse supported the household while the other obtained educational degrees to advance a career, that applies as well.
Both incomes are relevant
The court will consider both spouses’ incomes and the standard of living in the marriage. If one spouse is making significantly more than the other, the lower-earning spouse often receives spousal support to maintain their standard of living.
Tax implications affect calculations
Spousal support and the change in marital status can alter tax brackets and resulting tax liabilities. Courts consider these changes as well so that neither spouse struggles with undue tax burdens.
The goal of spousal support is to minimize financial stress following a divorce. Whether you are the primary breadwinner or a stay-at-home parent, you should understand the alimony guidelines and expectations before going to court.