What is it worth to put someone through dental school?

There is a calculator for child support which is not entirely simple to use, but doable.  Not so for spousal support.  There are three types of spousal support, the most comprehensive of which is compensatory support.  It reflects the degree to which a spouse contributed, will offer the spouse the most compensation over the longest period of time and will be the most difficult to modify or terminate.

A recent case which granted compensatory spousal support was Harris and Harris, 349 Or ___ (December 16, 2010).  The court found that the “wife contributed to husband’s ‘education, training, vocational skills, career or earning capacity’ by working full time while husband attended both undergraduate and dental school.  Wife’s work provided the family with financial support and health insurance.  Once husband established his dental practice, wife assumed primary homemaking and childcare responsibilities.  Wife also worked part time in husband’s dental practice for a period of seven years.”  These contributions were found to be “significant contributions” to husband’s education and career “sufficient to trigger consideration of a compensatory spousal support award under the relevant statutory criteria.”

But how much for how long?  The court took the above facts into account, that the wife would also be entitled to transitional and maintenance support, and that the husband would be able to produce income from his dental practice of “$350,000 to $400,000 per year over the next 17 to 27 years.”  Therefore the court awarded her $2,000 per month for 10 years as being just and equitable in all of the circumstances.

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