Spousal Support – Alimony
Spousal Support – Alimony
Spousal support is the legal term for what is often referred to as alimony. It is an important factor to consider when a divorce papers are filed, as well as at the conclusion of a divorce case. These points in time correlate with what is called temporary spousal support (or pendente lite support) and spousal support after judgment.
How is temporary spousal support calculated? While a divorce action is pending, one common method is what is referred to as the County of Santa Clara formula, which generally states that temporary spousal support is computed by taking 40% of the net income of the payor, minus 50% of the net income of the payee.
To illustrate, assume wife makes $100,000/year after taxes. 40% of $100,000 = $40,000.
Assume husband makes $40,000/year after taxes. 50% of $40,000 = $20,000.
$40,000 – $20,000 = $20,000/year for temporary spousal support payable by wife to husband or approximately $1,667/month.
The above example is not precisely what a court would actually order on a temporary basis, as courts have broad discretion to take other factors into consideration, including tax ramifications, ability to pay, domestic violence, etc. So even at the temporary stage, the underlying facts of a particular case are important.
How is spousal support calculated at the conclusion of a divorce? The court is prohibited from using a formula to calculate spousal support at this stage. Rather, the court uses a series of factors enumerated in Fam. Code, § 4320. The statute in full reads as follows:
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