Can an Online Spousal Support Calculator Be Accurate?

If you are getting a divorce and spousal support is a concern, odds are you have searched around for an online spousal support calculator to give you an idea of how much you may pay (or receive) in support. A word of warning when it comes to these online calculators, they likely aren’t accurate. The amount a party will pay or receive in California spousal support isn’t as cut and dry as it is when it comes to child support. Here is why:

Spousal Support Factors

If you have been researching support, you may have heard the term “Dissomaster” as a way that the court (and many attorneys) calculate spousal support. While this number can be a great starting point, it isn’t always the best way to determine how much a party should receive or pay. The court takes 14 different factors (found in Family Code Section 4320) into account when it comes to spousal support.

Some of these factors include:

  • The earning capacity of the supported spouse
  • The ability to pay of the supporting spouse
  • The needs of each party
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Age and health of the parties
  • And other factors can be found on the website

We recommend that every divorcing couple reads this section thoroughly and asks their mediator how it may apply to their case. Many of these factors are subjective and can vary wildly depending on a couple’s specific circumstances.

Spousal Support & Negotiation of Terms

The great part about mediation is you can be extremely creative when it comes to creating a marital settlement agreement. Spousal support is one of the most negotiated parts of a divorce, but couples can often find mutually agreeable solutions by thinking outside of the box. For example: in lieu of spousal support, one party may offer their share of the family home. Another common agreement is to lower both party’s tax burdens by shifting spousal support interest into retirement accounts and transferring their share + a lump sum into another tax-deferred retirement account. There are endless options that could benefit both parties.

If you are searching for an online spousal support calculator but are fed up with getting varying amounts, contact West Coast Family Mediation Center for a FREE consultation. We are happy to walk through your options with you.