2. Get an idea of how much support and for how long

Courts use the (SSAGs) to help them decide how much should be paid and for how long. These are only guidelines, not laws. A judge can order more or less support than what the guidelines say.

The SSAGs use 2 different formulas. One is for partners who have no children together. The other is for partners who have children together.

The SSAG formulas calculate a range of low, middle, and high support amounts, as well as the length of time spousal support might be paid. This can help you or a judge decide what amount of spousal support is appropriate and for how long, depending on the facts of your case.

The SSAG formulas take many factors into account to calculate spousal support. These include:

  • your birth date
  • your partner's birth date
  • your annual income
  • your partner's annual income
  • the birth dates of any children you have together
  • how long you were
  • any other support obligations

Support amounts are usually higher, and paid longer, where:

  • there are big differences between the partners' incomes,
  • they lived together for a long time, and
  • they had children.

Amounts are smaller if there are smaller differences between the partners' incomes and their relationships were shorter.

If there is an order for both and spousal support, child support gets paid first. So if the support does not earn enough to pay both child support and spousal support, they must pay the full amount of child support first. Whatever is left goes to spousal support.

You need special software to calculate spousal support using the SSAGs. This free online calculator can give you a rough idea but it only does simple calculations, and it only takes employment income into account.

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