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Posted on November 4, 2016 in Divorce

We have seen several questions lately about California divorce calculators. What is a California divorce calculator? The simple answer to that question is that there is not one specific “divorce calculator” in California. There are actually many items to which a person may be referring when using the term “divorce calculator.”

San Diego family attorneys use a lot of different computer programs to assist with making calculations for child support, spousal support, and property division. For example, to calculate California Guideline child support, attorneys may use a computer program called DissoMaster™. This is the same computer program that judges in San Diego family court use.

The DissoMaster™ program calculates presumptive Guideline child support based on many factors including things like each party’s income, tax filing status, deductions, and time share with the minor child or children. The Guideline child support can become fairly complicated in some cases and it makes sense to meet with a qualified family attorney for professional advice on the subject. There are several other programs that family attorneys use to calculate child support.

The DissoMaster™ computer program also includes a function that calculates a proposed guideline spousal support order. The spousal support calculator is very different from child support, as family court judges are not required to use a computer guideline calculation when making spousal support orders. There are also a lot of different guideline formulas for spousal support used by various counties throughout the state.

Further, when we refer to the use of a guideline program for calculating spousal support, which is only for temporary support orders. Temporary spousal support orders are those made while a case is pending with the court – between the time when a Petition is filed and the court issues a Judgment. For temporary support orders, San Diego County judges use a spousal support guideline that is known as the Santa Clara County formula (San Diego County Local Rules). Again, it is very important to point out here that the judges do not have to use the guideline calculation for temporary spousal support, though in most cases they do.

For permanent spousal support orders (orders made at the time of a judgement in a case) the court cannot use a computerized support calculation. When family courts make these orders, the judges must consider all of the Family Code Section 4320 factors. This includes things like the length of the marriage, age and health of the parties, relative incomes, assets, hardships, etc.

Another divorce calculator that San Diego family attorneys may use is called Propertizer™. The Propertizer™ program is used to add up all of the community property in a case, assign it to the parties, and prepare automated equalization calculations. The process of preparing equalization calculations can be very sophisticated depending upon the nature and complexity of a case. When there are millions of dollars in real estate and investment accounts this divorce calculator process may even involve the use of a professional accounting firm. In less complicated cases, San Diego family attorneys may simply use an Excel spreadsheet to create an equalization chart.

This is only a very broad outline of some divorce calculator options that are used in San Diego divorce cases. There are so many more options available, and the use of various tools in a client’s case is extremely fact specific. To learn more about how a divorce calculator may be used in your own case please contact our firm at 858-974-4900 and schedule a consultation appointment with Attorney Scott Family Law, CFLS. Mr. Scott is a Certified Family Law Specialist with more than 35 years of litigation experience in San Diego, California.