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How Is Alimony Calculated?

How Is Alimony Calculated?

When a couple decides to divorce, one spouse may be obligated to pay spousal support to the other spouse during the course of the divorce process.

Following a divorce or while a divorce case is pending, alimony is defined as one spouse’s payment to the other. This could be either ordered by the court or agreed upon by the couple.

If you are going through a divorce yourself, you may wonder how is alimony calculated? Is there a set formula that the Court will use? Or is it a negotiation that will be decided by the parties, divorce attorneys and the judge?

How Is Alimony Calculated?

The amount of alimony the court decides on depends on certain factors. One of these main factors is the state where you live.

Alimony is calculated in a variety of ways depending on the state. In general, the court considers how much money each party requires to maintain their standard of living, how much money each party can/should reasonably earn, and how long a party will need to be supported before making a decision.

Alimony is typically 40 percent of the receiving party’s income. There are variations in this number depending on the state where you live and what situation you are in. Among other things, as previously stated, the court considers how much the other party makes or could make, as well as how much they require to maintain their standard of living.

Now, let us take a look at how some states handle alimony. We will provide you with information on how alimony is calculated in certain states.

How Different States Handle Alimony

In Pennsylvania, spousal support is calculated using a straightforward formula that is in accordance with the state’s guidelines for support. For the purpose of calculating spousal support, the formula is as follows: 40 percent of the difference between the parties’ net incomes without dependent children, and 30 percent of the difference if there are dependent children.

In Pennsylvania, expenses such as mortgage and health insurance may have an impact on alimony payments.

According to Colorado law, the amount of spousal maintenance that must be paid is determined by a mathematical formula that was incorporated into the statute CRS 14-10-114 in 2014. The following is how the maintenance formula works:

  • Take 40% of the higher-earning party’s gross monthly income 
  • Calculate 50 percent of the lower-income earner’s gross monthly income 
  • Subtract the 50 percent figure from the 40 percent figure to get the final result.

Alimony in California is calculated by taking 35 percent to 40 percent of the higher-earning spouse’s income and subtracting 40 percent to 50 percent of the lower-earning spouse’s income. Your mileage may vary depending on which county you live in.

New York law establishes criteria for the amount and duration of maintenance that must be paid. There are two formulas in the law: one for couples with children and another for couples without children.

You deduct 20% of the lower-earning spouse’s net income and 30% of the higher-earning spouse’s net income if there are no minor children. Then you add together their earnings. Then 40% of the combined income is deducted. Then you deduct the net income of the lower-earning spouse.

Take 25% of the lower-earning spouse’s net income and divide it by the number of minor children. Subtract 20% of the money earned by the spouse with the greater income. Again, 40% of the aggregate money is deducted. Then you deduct the net income of the lower-earning spouse.

As you can see, determining the amount of alimony depends entirely on what state you are in. To learn more about alimony and divorce, check out our article “How Does Alimony Work?”