How Does the Court Determine Permanent Spousal Support?

While apparently many lawyers seem to just use the Dissomaster even for permanent spousal support, the court is not supposed to use it for permanent spousal support. So it’s better for you to understand how the court is evaluating how much the permanent spousal support is.

Best is to get an expert report from a forensic CPA accountant. They can help to evaluate your own situation and prepare a report that the court can use. Below are the factors that may be considered in the calculation.

Spousal support is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request it from the other. However, the hallmark rule in any spousal support case is that the requesting spouse needs the support, and the other can provide it. If you can’t pass this basic test, the court won’t award any support.

For temporary support requests, the court will gather financial information from each spouse, including information about income, expenses, assets, and debts, and then determine an amount using a temporary support calculator. Typically the Dissomaster. But there is a simple formula that you can also use to cross-check it.

For the other types of spousal support offered in California (rehabilitative and permanent), the court will determine each spouse’s income and evaluate the following factors to determine a final amount for spousal support:

  • each spouse’s earning capacity
  • the extent to which the supported spouse contributed to the other’s educational degree or professional license during the marriage
  • the paying spouse’s ability to pay spousal support, considering earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living
  • each spouse’s needs, based on the marital standard of living
  • each spouse’s debts and assets, including separate property
  • the length of the marriage
  • the supported spouse’s ability to become employed without interfering with the care of the parties’ minor children
  • each party’s age and health
  • whether there is a documented history of domestic violence against either party or the children
  • tax consequences to each party
  • the balance of hardships to each party
  • the goal that the recipient spouse will be self-supporting within a reasonable period
  • any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse, and
  • any other factors that the court wishes to consider (CA FAM §4320.).

Posted in Marital Standard of Living, Uncategorized and tagged .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *