Here’s a question that pops up quite a bit. How is
Temporary Spousal Support calculated?
courts, including those in Southern California (i.e., San Diego
County, Riverside, San Bernardino County, Orange County, Los Angeles County,
et cetera) the
calculation for Temporary Spousal Support starts with a statutory
guideline formula, which then can be adjusted up or down, based on whatever the court deems
as "special circumstances." But in a general sense, the level
of support is based on the net amounts of income remaining after Child
Support has been deducted.
Southern California uses the Santa Clara guideline formula. Under this
formula, after any child support payments have already been accounted
for, the recipient is entitled to 40 percent of the net income of the
payor spouse, less 50 percent of the net income of the payee spouse, after
adjustment for tax consequences.
This calculation is more difficult than it first seems, because the payment
of spousal support is deductible to the payor. Thus, once this deduction
and the tax break is accounted for, the formula needs to be reapplied
over and over again, to account for the payor's true after tax income.
Fortunately, there are programs that can make this extrapolation for you.
The two most common are
Dissomaster (http://www.childsupportca.com/dissomaster.htm) and
Sometimes free temporary trial versions are available for download from
the internet, and can usually be found simply by conducting an internet
search for such terms as "Dissomaster Free Trial" or "Xspouse
"Special circumstances" can be considered by the court in decreasing
or increasing spousal support above or below the guidelines. Such special
circumstances can include support obligations arising from a prior relationship,
unusually high monthly expenses, etc.
For instance, if the payor spouse is burdened with high monthly credit
card payments (under his or her name) that were incurred during the parties'
marriage, one might argue that such payments also benefited the other
spouse and should be considered in deducting spousal support.
As a matter of law, guideline formulas may not be the basis for setting
"permanent support" [Marriage of Zywiciel (2008) 83 Cal.App.4th 1078, 1082]. However this does not prevent the court
and attorneys engaged in settlement negotiations from running a temporary
support calculation for comparison purposes.