Spousal Support – What You Need to Know about Alimony

How Much Alimony Are You Entitled to Receive?

Spousal Support (also commonly referred to as alimony and maintenance) is one of the many factors of your divorce that a judge will determine for you. This step can be scary, especially if you’re the spouse that makes less (or no money). However, rest assured that your judge will aim for both parties to continue the same standard of living post-divorce by fairly allocating spousal support. If you’re wondering how much alimony you’ll be entitled to receive after your divorce, this guide will help you get a better idea.

Remember that Spousal Support Comes after Child Support

If you will be the primary caretaker for your children, it’s relatively standard for you to receive child support to care for your children’s basic needs. Spousal Support will thus be calculated after child support has been established. This money will be specifically to help you manage your personal necessities, such as car payments, house payments, and even groceries.

Understand the Main Factors of Calculation

Your judge will take several main factors into consideration while determining who is responsible and eligible for spousal support. This includes salaries of both parties, individual expenses, and whether spousal support is necessary to help both parties continue their current standards of living.

Factors such as one spouse being unable to work due to raising the children, or no longer having marketable job skills due to extended at-home parenthood will also be evaluated.

However,  keep in mind, if there just isn’t enough money for both of you to keep your current lifestyles, the judge may split financial responsibility between the two of you.

Learn Your State’s Rules on Savings

Here’s a tough question: should savings be calculated into spousal supoort payments? If you regularly contribute to your nest egg, the thought of abandoning it may seem outrageous. But different courts will disagree on whether your savings are a necessary part of your standard of living. Ask your lawyer (or do some research) to determine whether you can argue that your spousal support calculations should include contributions to your savings account.

Try out this Standard Formula

While every judge will award spousal support differently based on the situation, there is a fairly standard “formula” that they’ll base their decisions off of. You can use it now to get a ballpark idea of what kind of money you could be looking at after your divorce.

Take the paying spouse’s total income and subtract any child support costs. Next, multiply that number by .4 (40%). Finally, deduct half the amount of the receiving spouse’s income to get the total.

Example: a man earns $5000 each month and will be paying $1500 in child support. His wife earns $640 working part-time. The calculation is: (5000-1500) x .4 – (640/2) =1080. The wife could reasonably expect to receive $1080 per month in spousal support. 

In most cases, a judge won’t leave the paying spouse with less than 40-50% of their net income. If you find yourself in this situation, respectfully point it out to the judge and see if they’ll reconsider leaving you with a little more of your hard-earned income.  

Accept that You May be Ineligible

There are two main reasons that a judge could deny spousal support requests. First, the marriage lasted less than 2-3 years. Second, both spouses are suitably employed and self-sufficient. While you can always plead your case, bear in mind that either of these factors can cause a judge to dismiss your request for spousal support. You can also become ineligible later if you remarry.

Closing Thoughts

Spousal support can be a complicated subject, but the ultimate goal is to make life fair for both parties. This is not your opportunity to bleed your ex for all he or she is worth. It’s a chance for each of you to go your separate ways on the same footing.

If you have questions about how much spousal support you should receive from your divorce, be sure to bring it up to your family law lawyer or divorce attorney. They can help you determine what your eligible needs are for both child and spousal support.

If you are in need of a family law attorney, contact the professionals at Duncan Family Law at (855) 369-9993. Our firm specializes in helping families like yours to navigate the divorce process with as little hassle as possible. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime, and we’ll set up a phone call or Zoom session to discuss your needs.