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Child Support and Spousal Support Happ Law Group P.C.’s Child Support and Spousal Support Lawyer is a Certified Family Law Specialist Experienced in All Aspects of Child and Spousal Support Cases Including Establishment or Modification of Child or Spousal Support as well as Imputing Income to an Unemployed or Underemployed Individual

Whether you are attempting to maximize or minimize the amount of support you may be obligated to pay under California law, Happ Law Group P.C. has an extensive knowledge of the child support and spousal support laws to assist you in your case.

For more information on the child support and spousal support in the State of California, please click on the links below:

Child Support

By law, both parents are obligated to financially support their children. A parent’s basic monthly child support obligation will be determined according to the California Child Support Guideline formula. In arriving at the guideline amount a parent must pay in child support, the Court will consider several factors, including, but not limited to:

  • Gross monthly income
  • Timeshare with the children
  • Tax filing status
  • Number of federal tax exemptions
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Property tax expenses
  • Deductible interest expenses
  • Charitable contributions
  • Union dues
  • Mandatory retirement payments
  • Spousal support paid for other marriages
  • Child support paid for other relationships

The Court must also determine the financial responsibility of each parent for the following child-related expenses:

  • Child care expenses;
  • Uninsured medical/dental expenses (i.e. out-of-pocket health care expenses);

The Court may assign the financial responsibility of each parent for the following child-related expenses:

  • Educational expenses, such as private school tuition;
  • Visitation travel costs
Temporary Spousal Support

The purpose of temporary spousal support is to allow the parties to maintain, as close as possible while the divorce case is pending, the financial “status quo” based upon the standard of living during the marriage.

The amount of temporary spousal support a spouse will receive is entirely within the discretion of the Court.

An order for temporary spousal support is terminated by the issuance of a judgment, the dismissal of the case or expiration under its own terms.

Long-Term Spousal Support

Long-term spousal support may be ordered after the divorce is final. The Court must consider all of the Family Code §4320 factors when determining:

  1. Whether long-term support is warranted; and
  2. If long-term spousal support is warranted, the appropriate amount and duration of said long-term spousal support.
Family Code §4320 Factors

The Court must take into consideration the following Family Code §4320 factors when determining long-term spousal support orders:

  • 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 all of the following:
    • 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 supporting 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.
  • The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a marriage of long duration, a “reasonable period of time” for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage.
  • The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award.
  • Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.
Modification of a Spousal Support Order

Once ordered, the amount of spousal support payable and the duration of payment may only be modified upon a showing of a change in circumstances. For example, California law establishes the rebuttable presumption that if the spouse receiving support cohabitates with a person of the opposite sex that there has been a change of circumstances as the supported spouse’s need for support has decreased. This is just one example of a change in circumstances.

The law also provides that, unless otherwise agreed, an order for spousal support terminates upon the death of either party or remarriage of the party receiving support. However, if the parties specifically agree that an order for spousal support is not subject to modification or termination, the amount payable may never be modified regardless of changed circumstances.