Going through separation or divorce carries a lot stress, both emotional and financial. Division of property, child support and spousal support are a few issues that both parties have to agree on and if mutual agreement is not reached, the case can proceed to court and a judge rules on those topics. Important to note that court is not necessary and that an agreement can be reached between both parties with the help of a family lawyer or a mediator.

Today, we want to explore in a bit more detail the topic of Spousal Support. Before we begin, we want to clarify that:

A. Spousal support is not awarded by default with a breakdown of marriage.
B. Spousal support is not only restricted to married parties.
C. This article does not address division or property and it exclusively talks about spousal support.

Factors Considered In Determining Spousal Support Eligibility, Amount and Duration

The financial means and needs of both parties, the roles of each spouse during their marriage and the effect of those roles as well as the length of the marriage are all factors in determining spousal support. Furthermore, spousal support is given in order to:

• Compensate the spouse with the lower income for sacrificing some power to earn income during the marriage;
• Compensate the spouse with the lower income for ongoing care of children; or
• to help a spouse who is in financial need if the other spouse has the ability to pay.

How is Spousal Support Calculated?

The amount and length of spousal support without the obligation of child support quite heavily depends upon the length of the marriage/relationship. Usually, the longer the marriage/relationship the amount and duration of spousal support increases. Some other factors to consider is whether or not the parties’ own properties that can earn income and the ability of the parties involved to earn income such as their education, skills, experience and history of earning.

Generally, the amount of spousal support without the obligation of child support is 1.5 to 2% of the difference in spouses’ gross income for every year of marriage to a maximum of 50%. Here is an example using the formula above:

If spouse 1 earns $50,000 per year and spouse 2 earns $100,000 per year than here is what spousal support would look like:

After 5 years of marriage spouse 2 would have to pay spouse 1 $3750 per year on the low-end and $5000 per year on the high-end.

After 20 years of marriage spouse 2 would have to pay spouse 1 – $15,000 per year on the low-end and $20000 per year on the high-end

At the same time, the judge must consider that a spouse who receives support has an obligation to become self-supporting, where reasonable.

Finally, spousal support payments are different when child support payments are involved. We will explore child support in a different article.

We make it our business to assist you and obtain the best results for you and your family. Contact us for a thorough consultation on this and any other issue you may have pertaining to family law.

The material provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice and should not be relied upon or treated as legal advice.