The calculation of temporary spousal support is based on a mathematical formula although there are often issues of self-employed individuals hiding income or individuals unwilling to work. In contrast, permanent/long term spousal support is based on 14 factors. For this reason, an experienced family law attorney often obtains a more favorable spousal support award to the payor, or the payee, than either a self-represented party or an unexperienced attorney can obtain.
- Temporary Support
- During the pendency of a dissolution proceeding, the Court may order temporary spousal support for one party. Temporary spousal support is based upon a mathematical formula which is available in software called DissoMaster™. Generally speaking, the basic formula for calculating spousal support is 40% of the payor’s net monthly income less one-half the receiving spouse’s net monthly income. There are other factors such as property taxes, hardships, or other deductions that will affect the overall temporary spousal support order.
- Long-Term/Permanent Spousal Support
- The Court may NOT base long-term spousal support upon a DissoMaster Calculation. The Court must consider 14 factors found in Family Code Section 4320 in calculating long-term/permanent spousal support. The goal of spousal support post judgment is for the supported party to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time.
Generally speaking, the Court finds half the length of the marriage to be a reasonable period of time, except in cases of a long-term marriage. The Court has the discretion to make an order for spousal support longer or shorter than half the length of the marriage based upon several factors. A long term marriage is generally 10 years or more, but it is within the Court’s discretion to consider a marriage shorter than 10 years to be long term.
- Other Considerations
- Because the goal of spousal support is for both parties to be self-supporting, the Court can make a “Seek Work Order.” This order usually requires the non-working party to submit at least 10 applications for jobs every week and register with at least 5 temporary employment agencies, including One Stop Center in Alameda County.