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Divorce can be a complicated and emotionally taxing process. In addition to dealing with the legal aspects of ending your marriage, you may also need to consider how spousal support & alimony will factor into the equation.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to calculate these payments — and ensure that both parties are treated fairly throughout the process. In this article, we’ll determine the amount and duration of alimony & spousal support and who qualifies for such payments.

Keep reading to get the full picture of spousal support and alimony calculations during a divorce.

What is  Alimony & Spousal Support? 

Alimony and spousal support refer to payments that one spouse makes to the other for various purposes.  The purpose of these payments may include helping the receiving spouse cover living expenses or providing financial assistance in the transition to a single-income household.

Generally, alimony and spousal support are only awarded in a divorce situation — meaning that both parties must be legally married for it to be considered.

Alimony is typically paid as one lump sum, while spousal support is usually paid over some time. The amount and duration of these payments are determined by the court and may vary depending on the individual circumstances.

Who Qualifies for Alimony or Spousal Support?

In most cases, courts make decisions about alimony and spousal support based on the needs of the receiving spouse. The court will consider factors such as each party’s financial resources, length of the marriage, age & health of each spouse, assets & liabilities, education level & earning capacity of each spouse, contributions to family finances and marital property, and any other relevant factors.

In general, both spouses must have a financial need to qualify for alimony or spousal support payments. If one spouse can support themselves financially without the other’s assistance, then they may not be eligible for such payments. 

It’s important to note that the court has wide discretion in determining whether or not alimony or spousal support is awarded, and if so, how much and for how long.

How Courts Determine the Amount and Duration of Alimony & Spousal Support?

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of alimony and spousal support, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

When calculating alimony or spousal support, the court will consider several factors:

Financial resources of each spouse

The court will examine the financial resources of each spouse to determine whether alimony or spousal support should be awarded and, if so, how much.  This includes looking at each spouse’s income, savings, debts, investments, and other sources of income.

The court may also consider whether either spouse can increase their earning potential. For example, if one spouse is unemployed or underemployed due to their choices during the marriage, the court may consider this when deciding on the number of support payments.

Length of marriage

The length of the marriage is also an important factor in determining spousal support payments. Generally, the longer a couple has been married, the more likely one spouse will be awarded financial assistance.

In addition, courts often consider the circumstances of the marriage when determining payments. For example, if one spouse stayed home to raise children or manage the household, this may be considered, and that spouse may qualify for more support than their partner.

Age & health of each spouse

The court will also consider the age and health of each spouse when determining alimony or spousal support payments. Spouses older or in poor health may qualify for a larger amount than their healthier, younger spouses.

The court may also take into account any medical expenses that one spouse is likely to incur as a result of their age or health. This can include medical costs, as well as the cost of any homecare or nursing services that may be necessary.

Assets, liabilities & marital property division

The court will also consider dividing assets and liabilities during divorce proceedings when determining alimony or spousal support payments. This includes looking at what assets each spouse was granted during the property division and any liabilities that either spouse may still be responsible for.

The court will also examine how much marital property each spouse received to determine whether one party is more financially secure than the other and, therefore, should receive a larger amount of alimony or spousal support.

Education level & earning capacity of each spouse

The court will also consider the education level and earning capacity of each spouse when determining alimony or spousal support payments. This includes looking at what type of job each spouse can do, as well as any special skills or training they may have.

The court may also consider any educational costs one spouse had to incur to increase their earning potential during the marriage. For example, if one spouse had to go back to school to get a better job, then this could be taken into consideration when setting payments. 

Contributions to the family finances and marital property

The court will also consider any contributions either spouse may have made to the family finances or marital property. This includes looking at any investments, savings, debts, or other sources of income that either spouse may have contributed during the marriage.

The court may also consider any other contributions either spouse made to the marriage, such as childcare and home maintenance. These can be taken into account when determining payments, as they can help to provide additional financial support for a spouse who is not as financially secure as the other.

Child custody arrangements

The court will also consider any child custody arrangements made during the divorce proceedings when determining alimony or spousal support payments. This includes looking at who is responsible for providing childcare and any financial contributions that either parent may be required to make toward their children.

This can be difficult to consider, as the court must ensure that both spouses can financially provide for their children. It is important to note that if there are any special circumstances around child custody arrangements, such as one parent having sole physical custody, then this could be taken into account when setting payments.

Tax consequences

The court will also consider any tax consequences arising from spousal support payments. This includes examining how the payments are taxed and whether they are deductible for either spouse. It is important to note that any tax implications should be discussed with a lawyer or accountant before alimony payments are finalized.


Calculating spousal support or alimony during a divorce is no small feat. It takes careful consideration and understanding of the law to get it right. However, having the right information and following these steps can make the process easier. With proper guidance, you and your former spouse should be able to come to an agreement that works for both of you. Good luck.

Farbood Majd Esq.

Family Law & Divorce Attorney in Beverly Hills

Providing service in English and Farsi

Address: 8383 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 646, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Phone: 310.956.4600 | Fax: 310.878.8989

Email: [email protected]