Child support and temporary spousal support are based upon guideline calculations, so the primary factors are the number of minor children, timeshare of the children, gross monthly incomes of the parties, tax filing status, and dependency exemptions. Permanent spousal support is based upon the 14 factors of CFC§4320, and is generally awarded for half the duration of the marriage in a marriage of less than ten years, and theoretically for life in a marriage of greater than ten years.
Specific facts are obviously required to ascertain the exact amounts and possible duration of any support to which you may be entitled. As such, you should consult with a local attorney and request that they run these, specific calculations for you.
My colleague is correct. There are a number of factors that you need to consider. If you have some basic information, you can visit the California department of child support services web site listed below and enter your information. But remember, the information you put in directly impacts what comes out. So if it is off or different or incorrect, you may be relying on numbers that are different from what your husband calculates. Also, the spousal support amount from the online formula is for "temporary" support. Here's a little general information about spousal support for you to consider:
"Temporary spousal support" is only while your divorce is being processed through the court system. It very often tends to be higher than the final order (although not always).
"Permanent spousal support" does not mean it is forever and unchanging. It is the term used for the final order after your divorce is complete. The court is prohibited from relying on the algebraic formula for this calculation. Instead, the judge must consider the factors listed in Family Code section 4320 et seq. This is one reason why spousal support is often the most fought over, most expensive, and least predictable issue in a divorce.
Modifiable or not: is the amount going to be fixed or can it be modified in the future? This depends on a number of factors, not the least of which is the duration of your marriage, the standard of living, the sources of your income, and so on. There are benefits and consequences to having modifiable or non-modifiable support. I do have a worksheet on this that I share in my mediations.
Duration: as my colleague mentioned, the "rule of thumb" is that for a marriage of less than 10 years, if spousal support is awarded, it is usually awarded for about half the length of the marriage. 10 years +, it could go on for life, until death, until remarriage, or it could be stepped down over a period of years, etc.
Again, there is no real certainty when it comes to spousal support.
You are very smart to attempt to have this conversation and this issue resolved without going to battle. This is a very sensitive topic. I would caution you, however, to check numbers before identifying your financial goals. Once you see a number on a computer, it's very hard to agree to something different (even if that number is wrong). My recommendation would be that you speak with an attorney experienced in mediation and collaboration to learn how best to approach this topic, as well as others, and how to create an environment that allows you and your husband to make informed, productive decisions, without causing you so much financial harm. There are a lot of options and resources available to you today vs. 10 years ago even. You may want to look at some of them and speak to a qualified professional who can assist. You may even want to attend a divorce options workshop, where you and your husband can meet these professionals for a morning discussion tailored to your situation. These workshops usually range in price from $45 - $65 per person. Well worth it to hear from the financial, child specialist, mental health professional, and attorneys who work in this field. I have shared some additional links for you to start your research. If I can be of any other help, feel free to reach out to us.
Good luck to you both. Keep those discussions going.
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