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Los Angeles County, CA Alimony/Spousal Support, what initial "Calculator" is used to determine the alimony base pay?

Los Angeles, CA |

During an ADR meeting, I was told that the court would most likely make me pay $1000/mo. in alimony b/c my husband doesn't work. However; my monthly net income is less than $2000/mo. My husband has refused to work most of our 8 year marriage! I don't have the 2nd job anymore, and stated this information on my income & expense sheet. (My services were terminated 1 month prior to me filing for divorce). 30% of my income goes to community debt, 44% goes to bills/rent, 5% to student loans, and the balance the credit card I use to pay for vet bills (for pets we own together), my own groceries, clothes, etc. So how did the ADR volunteer (who is a lawyer himself) calculate the amount the he quoted me? I just don't get it.

Attorney Answers 1


  1. The program that the ADR volunteer most likely used was DissoMaster or a variation of that program. The program is used to calculate child support (which is Guideline and therefore the program must be used). Even though the program does calculate spousal support, there is no such thing as Guideline spousal support (alimony). Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for spousal support to be somewhere in the range set forth on that program. HOWEVER, the figures it computes are based upon the information input into the program.

    In any event, I have the following comments:

    1. Your gross income (not net income) should have been used.
    2. Although we generally consider your average monthly income, the income from your second job should not have been considered because your services were terminated prior to that date and not by you.
    3. I suspect that your gross monthly pay is somewhere around $2,600.00. If so, depending upon the other figures considered, you could very well end up paying your spouse approximately $1,000.00 per month in support -- if his income is based upon $0.00. That figure is also based upon you both filing as married filing separately or as single in 2010. If you do that, the spousal support you pay is tax deductible to you and taxable to him. If you file married filing jointly, you do not get to deduct that support because you are filing on the same return. Obviously, it would be to your benefit not to file married filing jointly in 2010.
    4. The court could impute minimum wage income to him or you could have him undergo a vocational evaluation. If the court imputed minimum wage income on your husband, your support payment would be substantially lower.

    I have been answering many questions on AVVO and giving my opinion of what will occur if a matter went before a judicial officer based upon the facts as I understand them. However, I want to point out that such an opinion is based upon many factors, not the least of which is that the party have an experienced family law attorney representing them on the matter. If facts and issues of law are not properly placed before the court, the results could be very different than otherwise expected.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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