In my last blog I explained the origin of the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines and a software program called DivorceMate. Once certain data is entered into the DivorceMate program it provides a calculation of the appropriate child maintenance and spousal maintenance payments.
You can see that child maintenance is shown in the upper right hand corner (495). Spousal maintenance is shown below this and a range of low (0), mid (200) and high (481) end spousal maintenance is provided.
Usually it is appropriate to use the mid-range spousal maintenance amount but arguments can be made for using both the low end and the high end amounts and these arguments are often based on each spouse’s net disposable income after spousal maintenance is paid.
The lower half of the page shows a breakdown of what income will be received and retained by each spouse and it shows their after tax net disposable income (3972 + 3639).
If for example the spouses share the children on an equal basis it is arguable that instead of looking at the mid-range of spousal maintenance the appropriate amount of spousal maintenance is one which equalizes their net disposable income. This may be the low, mid or the high end number (in our example it’s high end).
High end spousal maintenance may be the appropriate amount if one spouse is entitled to compensatory spousal maintenance as a result of having foregone employment opportunities during the marriage possibly because he or she stayed home to raise the children.
High end spousal maintenance may also be the appropriate amount if one spouse is losing their medical benefits because of the separation and divorce and they have high monthly expenses for mediations.
DivorceMate also sets out the duration or number of years that spousal maintenance is payable for (in our example it is a minimum of 7.5 years and a maximum of 15 years). If the recipient spouse’s age plus the length of the relationship exceeds the number 65 then the duration is indefinite. Note that indefinite is not infinite, it simply means there is no certain end to the spousal maintenance obligation and it will need to be reconsidered when the spouses’ circumstances change in the future.