Child Support And Spousal Support

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Determining Child Support And Spousal Support

Newport Family Law & Mediation Group can assist you in establishing initial orders for child support and/or spousal support, modifying current orders when there is a change in circumstances, and obtaining an award of attorney’s fees. Some general principles are as follows:

1. Child Support: In California, the Court adheres to statewide uniform guidelines in order to determine child support, and may only deviate from guidelines if there is a special circumstance [Family Code section 4052]. There is a rebuttable presumption that the guideline formula is correct unless the presumption can be overcome. The presumption may be overcome if the facts of your case meet the criteria set forth in Family Code section 4057.Pursuant to Family Code section 4053, the Court’s expectations are as follows, in pertinent part.

  • A parent’s first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children according to the parent’s circumstances and station in life [thus quitting a job to go back to school, while admirable, is generally not acceptable — the Court would generally expect a parent to maintain his/her job and go to school at night or around the work hours].
  • Both parents are mutually responsible for the support of their children.
  • Each parent should pay for the support of the children according to his or her ability.
  • Children should share in the standard of living of both parents.
  • The guideline seeks to encourage fair and efficient settlements of conflicts between parents and seeks to minimize the need for litigation.

Guideline support is calculated by using a computer program. For more information about calculating guideline child support, contact Newport Family Law & Mediation Group.

2. Spousal Support: There are two types of spousal support: Temporary and permanent, and inherent in the two types of spousal support are differences in purpose, law and standards for determining the spousal support award.The purpose of temporary spousal support is to maintain status quo, and it is generally determined by using the same computer programs used to calculate child support.By contrast, the purpose of permanent spousal support is to give the supporting party a period of transition between the marriage and self-sufficiency and the Court is absolutely precluded from using a computer program to determine the amount of permanent support.To calculate permanent spousal [which is not necessarily synonymous with “lifetime” support], Courts apply the factors set forth in Family Code section 4320 et seq and applicable case law to the specific facts of the case.For more information about spousal support, please contact Newport Family Law & Mediation Group.

3. Attorney’s Fees: Courts award attorney’s fees for many reasons, among which are attorney’s fees based on one party’s need and the other’s ability to pay, as well as attorney’s fees as sanctions for bad conduct. For more information about an award of attorney’s fees, please contact us.


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