California Spousal Support Guidelines Calculator

Parents "have an equal responsibility to support their child in the manner suitable to the child's circumstances" (Family Code 3900), and "each parent should pay for the support of the children according to his or her ability" (Family Code 4053, subd. (d)). The amount of child support must be in accordance with a statewide uniform guideline. (Family Code 4055.) The calculation begins with a determination of the parents' "annual gross income," which "means income from whatever source derived." (Family Code 4058, subd. (a).) The court may consider "employee benefits," "taking into consideration the benefit to the employee, and any corresponding reduction in living expenses ... ." (Family Code 4058, subd. (a)(3).) The statute expressly excludes income derived from certain sources, but it does not mention military allowances. ( 4058, subd. (c).) A temporary award of spousal support is intended "to maintain the living conditions and standards of the parties as closely as possible to the status quo, pending trial and the division of the assets and obligations of the parties." (In re Marriage of McNaughton (1983) 145 Cal.App.3d 845, 849.) In setting permanent spousal support, the court must consider a variety of guidelines, including the "ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party's earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living." ( 4320, subd. (c).) Family Code section 4320 sets forth numerous factors that a trial court must consider and weigh in deciding an appropriate amount of spousal support. (In re Marriage of Cheriton (2001) 92 Cal.App.4th 269, 302.) These factors include: the supporting spouse's ability to pay; the needs of each party based on the prior marital standard of living; the obligations and assets of each party; the duration of the marriage; the age and health of the parties; tax consequences; the balance of hardships to the parties; the goal that the supported party be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time; and any other factors deemed just and equitable by the court. (See Fam. Code, 4320.) In evaluating these factors, a court must consider the equities of the particular case. (In re Marriage of Kerr (1999) 77 Cal.App.4th 87, 93.) "In making its spousal support order, the trial court possesses broad discretion so as to fairly exercise the weighing process contemplated by section 4320, with the goal of accomplishing substantial justice for the parties in the case before it. . . . "The ultimate decision as to amount and duration of spousal support rests within its broad discretion and will not be reversed on appeal absent an abuse of that discretion." . . . 'Because trial courts have such broad discretion, appellate courts must act with cautious judicial restraint in reviewing these orders.'" (Ibid.)