Determining Child and Spousal Support Amounts

Alimony and child support payments are calculated in two very different ways.

The Federal Child Support Enforcement Act has developed guidelines covering a state child support formula that varies in each state. This means that child support ordered in one state may be much more or less than that ordered in another state.  The status of parental custody is taken into account by each family court judge when determining the amount to be paid.  Additional factors include:

  • The needs of child, including medical, dental and vision insurance, education, daycare and special needs
  • Income and needs of the custodial parent
  • The paying parent’s ability to pay
  • The child’s standard of living before divorce or separation

Each state has their own child support calculator to estimate monthly support obligations. The family court will require each parent to fill out a financial statement before making a final decision regarding child support.

Spousal Support

Unlike child support, alimony considerations are awarded based upon the following factors:

  • Length of marriage
  • Time separated while still married
  • Age and health at the time of the divorce
  • One spouse’s contribution to the education or career of the other
  • Contribution as a homemaker
  • Income of both parties involved
  • Future earning potential and financial situation of each spouse
  • Property awarded to each individual
  • Income from other sources, such as investments or annuities

In states that have no-fault divorces, support is usually granted when one spouse has been dependent upon the other over a long period of time.

Get Legal Advice

The laws in each state vary widely regarding child support and alimony considerations.  Therefore, it’s best to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help determine the best solution for your family.

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