Spousal Support

Q:        Will spousal support be paid?  If so, how much?

A:        Marriage is a contract between you and your spouse in which the law imposes an obligation of support. The obligation of support may continue after the marriage is dissolved based upon many factors.

While your case is proceeding through the legal system, the court has the authority to award temporary support to a spouse in need. The purpose of temporary support is to maintain the status quo until the conclusion of your case. When your case is concluded, the court may award permanent support. The amount and duration of an award of permanent support is based upon factors such as the following:

The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account:

  • The marketable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment;
  • The extent to which the supported party’s present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party to devote time to domestic duties;
  • The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the other party;
  • The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living;
  • The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage;
  • The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party;
  • The age and health of the parties;
  • Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, between the parties, including, but not limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated against the supported party by the supporting party, and consideration of any history of violence against the supporting party by the supported party;
  • The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party;
  • The balance of the hardships to each party; and
  • Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.

Generally, spousal support is tax deductible by the paying spouse and the supported spouse must pay income tax on the amount received.
Support orders may be modifiable upon a showing of a change in circumstances. There may also be a presumption of decreased need if the supported spouse cohabits with a person of the opposite sex.

Child Support

Q:        Will child support be paid? If so, how much?

A:        Both parents have an equal responsibility to support their minor child(ren). The obligation to support your child(ren) terminates at the age of majority, age 18. If the child is a full-time high school student, then until graduation or 19 years of age, whichever occurs first. California has adopted minimum standards for child support. The award of child support is governed by three primary variables; each parent’s income and the child sharing schedule (percentage of time with each parent). The legislature has adopted state-wide guidelines which base child support on a mathematical calculation depending upon the income of the parties and the custodial arrangement with the child(ren).

Children are entitled to be supported in a style and condition commensurate with the position in life and standard of living enjoyed by their parents.

Child support is traditionally paid to the parent having physical custody of the minor child(ren).

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