Because divorce proceedings can take months or even years in more contentious situations, family courts may grant temporary orders regarding child support, child custody and spousal support payments (also referred to as alimony payments). Although decisions regarding issues likely child custody will be largely subjective on the part of a judge overseeing the case, matters related to spousal support payments are often determined by fairly standard calculations – depending of course on:
- Whether a soon-to-be ex-spouse waives his/her right to temporary alimony payments
- The total combined income of both spouses
- Whether the spouse who will be paying spousal support has other support payments (s)he is currently making.
Formula for Temporary Alimony Payments
When the total household income of divorcing spouses is less than $75,000 per year, and when the right to temporary spousal support payments has not been waived, the court will determine the amount of these temporary payments by:
- Calculating how much 40 percent of the top-earning spouse’s income is
- Subtracting 50 percent of the other spouse’s income from the above amount
- Granting the difference between these two figures to be the temporary spousal payment as long as the difference is not less than or equal to zero dollars.
If the spouse with the greater income has other support payments that (s)he is already paying, this amount will be deducted from the total income before calculating what 40 percent of that income would be.
While there is a clear-cut formula for calculating temporary alimony payments in cases when the total household income is less than $75,000 annually, there is no such formula for cases when the total household income is greater than this amount. Instead, in these cases, the judge will look at the case as a whole to determine whether temporary spousal payments are actually necessary. Among the factors judges consider in these circumstances include the individual income of both spouses and the individual assets both spouses have.
Because these cases tend to be more subjective on the part of judges, having a skilled divorce lawyer standing up for your rights and interests will be crucial to securing the temporary alimony payments you may need or to preventing a potentially vindictive spouse from trying to obtain more in temporary spousal support than (s)he may need.