10 Factors Consider in a Spousal Support Calculation

If you are getting divorced and your soon-to-be ex-spouse earns substantially more than you, there is a good chance that you will be looking at a spousal support award after divorce. This award is meant to help you adjust financially to your newly single life until you can become gainfully employed enough to support yourself or until you re-marry, whichever happens first. However, if you are unemployed or underemployed, you may wonder how much that spousal support award will be. While the answer will vary, but there are many things the court will take into consideration, such as:


First and foremost, when going through a divorce, the courts will examine the income of both parties. If your income was much lower than your spouse, you may receive a spousal support award. However, if it is deemed to be of a livable wage independently, your award may be non-existent or much lower.

Property Division

If you are receiving a substantial amount of property or assets in the divorce, this can also affect spousal support. If you are keeping an expensive house or a vacation home, the courts may or may not award spousal support depending on the value of the property retained.

Length of Your Marriage

If you were married for a longer amount of time, you grew accustomed to a certain lifestyle. This means the longer the marriage, the higher the spousal support award may be.

Age and Health

If you are older or in poor health, you will be looking at a higher spousal support award because you may not be able to support yourself through employment. However, the alternative can also be true as well.

Future Earning Capacity

When deciding on spousal support, the courts will examine every aspect of your life. This includes education, your work history, any job skills you attained, and your overall resume. This is the same for your spouse as well. If they are underemployed, you still might attain a large award because they are capable of making so much more. Alternatively, if you have a set of skills that mean you could make a livable wage, then the award may be smaller.

Lost Earning Capacity Due to Family Contributions

If you got a degree 15 years ago or dropped out of college to start a family, the courts will consider this. Often it is difficult to get employed if you have not used your skill set in so many years because you were busy doing something like caring for children. If you put off your career to raise your children, it will positively affect your spousal support award.

Need for Education

If you require education in order to become self-supporting, then this can affect your award. It may be decreed that you will receive spousal support solely for the time it takes you to receive that education.

Residence of Children

If you have children that will be living for you, you may receive child support that is separate from spousal support. However, if you have very young children and this will affect your ability to earn, it will also affect your spousal support payment.

Premarital Agreements

If you had a prenuptial agreement in place before marrying with stipulations made for spousal support, the courts are bound by this agreement.

Transfers Made Before a Divorce

Divorce isn’t always so unexpected. In order to cut down marital property and spousal support, your spouse may sell off property or transfer it in an event to limit you from getting your fair share. If this can be proven, it can have an effect on spousal support.

Need Help?

If you are heading towards divorce and want to make sure you get your fair cut of the marital property as well as a fair payment for spousal support, contact us today.