The road from the start of your divorce to a decree can take days or even years in some cases, but life will still go on while it is in process. Therefore, there needs to be a temporary division of income and expenses, which is also known as “interim support.” The income coming into your household still needs to be distributed fairly between you and your spouse and the bills still need to be paid. The interim income and expenses calculation does this in the most equitable manner possible.
The income and expense statement
The court calculates the necessary interim support level using information on the Interim Monthly Income and Expense Statement you will need to complete. The support formula takes the following factors from this statement into account:
- Gross monthly income total
• Payroll deductions total
• Net monthly income
• Fixed monthly expenses total
• Spendable income (net)
• Number of children, if applicable
Gross monthly income is all the income you and your spouse receive from all sources, minus the child support either one of you is receiving from a prior court order. Payroll deductions, such as Medicare and state and federal taxes, are deducted from the gross income to get your net monthly income.
Fixed monthly expenses are those that are recurring and include things like your mortgage or rent payment, utility bills, insurance premiums, credit card bills, the phone bill and your car payment. These expenses are deducted from your net income to get your net spendable income. This figure shows the court how much disposable income you and your spouse will have each month. If the figure for the total net spendable income is positive, the court may have the spouse with the larger net spendable income transfer an amount to the spouse will less money available to equalize matters. However, when the figure is negative or both spouses have a small amount of net spendable income, the court usually won’t award any interim support at all.
If there are children involved in your case, the parent who is the primary caregiver will get an additional amount. Usually, if there is one child, the court will add another 10 percent. For two children, that percentage increases to 15 percent, and it goes to 19 percent for three children.
Although the formula for determining interim support is straightforward, it can still be a contentious matter during a divorce because it involves money. The numbers provided for income and expenses must be verified so a final number can be reached, and parties may disagree on the true amounts.
It is important to be honest and accurate on your statement to avoid disputes with your spouse and problems later with the court. You have to provide all the documentation needed to prove that the figures on your statement are correct. This includes paystubs showing income, copies of all your listed bills and other pieces of financial documentation. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the interim support figure, you may have to attend a court hearing and provide documents that show your numbers are truly accurate. The court will determine the number for income and expenses however it sees fit if you are unable to reach a figure that both you and your spouse can agree on.
If you are currently dealing with an interim support issue or expect to contend with one in the future, speak to an experienced family law attorney immediately. This division can be crucial to your financial security while you are going through your divorce, so you need to make sure your interests are protected and your needs are met.