What is a Spousal Support Calculator?
A spousal support calculator is used within family law to reach a proper figure for spousal maintenance, formally referred to as alimony. Each state handles the spousal support process differently. Some states use a spousal support calculator and unique formula to reach settlements, but other states don’t have a spousal support calculator at all.
If a state uses a spousal support calculator, there are a number of conditions that may affect the outcome. In order to apply the figures necessary for the formula, a judge will determine a monthly adjusted gross income that is contingent upon a variety of factors from income and assets to parental duties and educational needs. A judge may decide to not even use the calculator if they feel necessary.
Is there a Standard for a Spousal Support Calculator?
Although the formulas either vary from state to state or fail to exist at all, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) loosely adopts and considers a standard spousal support calculator.
The AAML uses the following standard model:
Spousal Maintenance= (30% of supporter’s gross income) – (20% of the supported party’s gross income)
The total income of the supported spouse including their gross income and support received cannot exceed 40% of the combined gross income of the parties.
Additionally, the AAML adopts calculations to determine the amount of time spousal maintenance can be awarded. The standard model multiples the length of the marriage by the following percentages:
1) Marriage of 0-3 years X 30%
2) Marriage of 3-10 years X 50%
3) Marriage of 10-20 years X 75%
4) Marriage of 20 years or more may result in permanent support
What factors may affect the Adjusted Monthly Gross Income?
Because a judge needs the general monthly gross incomes of both spouses in order to use a standard spousal support calculator, they consider a variety of factors that affect the gross income before reaching a reasonable average. The factors may include any of the following and more:
1) Is either spouse the custodial parent of a dependent minor child or disabled child?
2) Does either spouse have court-ordered support obligations from the past?
3) Does the spouse have any debts or obligations including health insurance for the child or other spouse?
4) Does either spouse make unreasonable expenditures or have unusual needs?
5) What is the age and physical and mental health of each spouse?
6) Has either spouse given up their career for parenting duties?
7) Has either spouse received a majority of the joint marital estate?
8) Has either spouse suffered serious tax consequences because of the divorce?
9) Has either spouse added to the education, professional skills, or increased salary of the other spouse?
10) What is the job market for the spouse’s professional skills or education, and what time does a spouse need to make their skills properly available in that job market?
There are many other factors a judge may consider before calculating for the adjustable monthly gross income.