Calculating California Maintenance

Learn how to make California maintenance (alimony) calculations using the California Maintenance Calculator.

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Using the California Maintenance Calculator

The California Maintenance (Alimony) Calculator makes California temporary maintenance calculations. To calculate temporary maintenance amounts, the California Maintenance Calculator (1) determines the spouses' net incomes by subtracting United States and California income tax from the spouses' gross incomes, (2) applies any additional deductions to the net incomes such as child support and related expenses, and (3) applies the selected California maintenance formula to the spouses' net incomes. Although the California Maintenance Calculator does all this for you with one click of the mouse, you must enter relevant information into the calculator.

Step 1: Enter the Gross Incomes

First, you must enter the spouses' gross incomes. Enter the gross incomes into the appropriate inputs in the California Maintenance Calculator form. The gross incomes should be entered in dollar amounts with no letters or special characters, such as the dollar symbol or commas.

California Maintenance Calculator gross income inputs

The California Maintenance Calculator uses the gross incomes entered into the calculator inputs to calculate the spouses' net incomes. The spouses' net incomes are calculated by subtracting United States and California income tax from the spouses' gross incomes and applying any additional deductions to the net incomes such as child support and related expenses.

Step 2: Select the Income Tax Filing Statuses

Second, you must select the spouses' income tax filing statuses. The tax filing statuses correspond to the available United States and California filing statuses. The available statuses are: single, head of household, married filing jointly, and married filing separately.

California Maintenance Calculator income tax filing status select

The California Maintenance Calculator uses the selected income tax filing statuses to calculate the spouses' United States and California income tax. Each spouse's income tax is subtracted from their gross income to determine their net income.

Step 3: Choose Whether Spouse is Responsible for Own Expenses

Third, you must choose whether each spouse is primarily responsible for their own living expenses. Choose from one of the two available options.

California Maintenance Calculator living expense option

If a spouse is primarily responsible for their own living expenses, then the spouse is entitled to take a personal exemption for California income tax purposes, and the California Maintenance Calculator reduces the spouse's overall California income tax liability after California income tax has been calculated. The amount of the California personal exemption credit is $114.00.

Step 4: Enter the Number of Dependents

Fourth, you must enter the number of dependents for each spouse. Enter the number of dependents into the appropriate inputs in the California Maintenance Calculator form. The number of dependents should be entered as integer values with no letters or special characters.

California Maintenance Calculator number of dependents inputs

The California Maintenance Calculator uses the number of dependents entered into the calculator inputs to calculate the California income tax dependent exemption amount. The California Maintenance Calculator reduces a spouse's overall California income tax liability after California income tax has been calculated by $353.00 per dependent.

Step 5: Enter the Child Support and Related Expenses

Fifth, you must enter the amount that each spouse pays for child support and related expenses. Enter the child support and related expenses into the appropriate inputs in the California Maintenance Calculator form. The amounts should be entered in dollar amounts with no letters or special characters, such as the dollar symbol or commas.

California Maintenance Calculator child expense inputs

The California Maintenance Calculator uses the child support and related expenses entered into the calculator inputs to further reduce the spouses' net incomes. Maintenance is calculated on net income not allocated to child support and related expenses.

Step 6: Enter the Marriage Length

Sixth, you must enter the length of the spouses' marriage. Once you have determined the marriage length, enter the length into the appropriate input in the California Maintenance Calculator form. The length should be entered in years with no letters or special characters.

California Maintenance Calculator marriage length input

The California Maintenance Calculator uses the marriage length entered into the calculator input to calculate the California maintenance duration. Although there is no maintenance duration formula provided for by California law, the general rule-of-thumb in California is for the maintenance duration to last one-half the lenght of the marriage.

Step 7: Select a Maintenance Formula

Seventh, you must select a California temporary maintenance formula from the available formulas. The California Maintenance Calculator allows you to choose from the three California county formulas that have been provided for by local court rule. Those counties are: Alameda County, Marin County, and Santa Clara County.

California Maintenance Calculator maintenance formula select

The California Maintenance Calculator uses the selected temporary maintenance formula for your California maintenance calculation. Each county has a different temporary maintenance formula. The Santa Clara County formula has gained the most wide-spread adoption throughout California.

Alameda County Formula

Alameda County local court rules provide the Alameda County temporary maintenance formula. Under the Alameda formula, the amount of maintenance is dependent on whether the maintenance recipient is also receiving child support from the maintenance payor.

In cases where the maintenance recipient is not receiving child support from the maintenance payor, the amount of maintenance is calculated by taking 40% of the paying spouse's net income minus 50% of the recipient spouse's net income. In cases where the maintenance recipient is also receiving child support from the maintenance payor, the amount of maintenance is calculated by taking 35% of the paying spouse's net income (after deduction of child support) minus 40% of the recipient spouse's net income (without addition of child support).

Marin County Formula

Marin County local court rules provide the Marin County temporary maintenance formula. Under the Marin formula, the amount of maintenance is dependent on whether the maintenance recipient is also receiving child support from the maintenance payor.

In cases where the maintenance recipient is not receiving child support from the maintenance payor, the amount of maintenance is calculated by taking 40% of the paying spouse's net income minus 50% of the recipient spouse's net income. In cases where the maintenance recipient is also receiving child support from the maintenance payor, the amount of maintenance is calculated by taking 35% of the paying spouse's net income (after deduction of child support) minus 45% of the recipient spouse's net income (without addition of child support).

Santa Clara County Formula

Santa Clara County local court rules provide the Santa Clara County temporary maintenance formula. Under the Santa Clara formula, the amount of maintenance is calculated by taking 40% of the paying spouse's net income (after deduction of child support) minus 50% of the recipient spouse's net income (without addition of child support).

Step 8: Make the Calculation

Once the spouses' information been entered into the California Maintenance Calculator and a maintenance formula has been selected, click the "Calculate" button. That's it! Your California maintenance calculation will display on the page underneath the California Maintenance Calculator.

California Maintenance Calculator calculation

The California maintenance calculation result is based on the selected county formula and contains the relevant information for your maintenance calculation.

Validation Errors

If the California Maintenance Calculator was submitted with invalid information, the calculator will display validation errors on the calculator inputs that were filled out incorrectly and the "Calculate" button will be disabled. Also, error messages will be displayed below the inputs that indicate the reasons for the errors.

California Maintenance Calculator validation errors

If you receive validation errors, enter valid information into the calculator inputs that contain the validation errors. Upon entry of new information, the validation error will be removed from the updated calculator input. Once all validation errors have been removed, the "Calculate" button will be re-enabled for resubmission of the California Maintenance (Alimony) Calculator.