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Child & Spousal Support

Child Support

Under California family law, all child support is calculated using uniform state guidelines. While a court ultimately decides the child support amount for each case, your family lawyer is able to calculate a reasonable estimate of the amount of child support you owe to your child’s other parent or the amount the other parent owes you by using the California Guideline Child Support Calculator.

Factors That Determine Child Support

Child support is usually paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to contribute to the cost of raising the child. The custodial parent is the parent that the child resides with the majority of the time. The amount of child support to be paid is based on disposable net income. Net disposable monthly income is a function of all income sources, whether or not they are reported to or taxed by the state or federal government.

While California state guidelines are very strict, they do consider factors which affect your net disposable monthly income, such as:

  • Hardship

  • Child support paid on other children

  • How much timeshare each parent has

  • Mandatory union dues or retirement contributions

  • Job related expenses

  • Health insurance premiums

  • Taxes


The court may or may not consider such deductions when calculating a guideline child support obligation. Experienced San Diego family lawyer Shana Black can create a persuasive presentation of the facts in pursuit of having such deductions granted.

Child Support Modifications

After a divorce has been finalized, it is sometimes necessary to make changes to the original order. Child support orders can be modified to meet changed needs in the parents’ or child’s life and either parent can petition the court for a modification. Reasons for requesting a modification may include:

  • Special healthcare concerns of the child

  • Significant changes in receiving spouse’s income

  • Involuntary loss of employment by paying spouse

  • Change in amount of time non-custodial parent spends with supported child

  • And more

Spousal Support

If you and your partner have decided to separate, you may be entitled to receive financial support each month. If you are married, then the court may order either you or your spouse to pay spousal support, also known as alimony. Resolving spousal support issues can be a complex legal matter; therefore, it is imperative that you retain the services of an experienced San Diego family law attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to help you understand spousal support, calculate spousal support, and prepare the necessary court forms to acquire spousal support.

Obtaining Temporary Spousal Support

In some situations, a judge can grant temporary spousal support to be paid to you while the divorce case is being resolved. Temporary spousal support may be critical to paying your bills, keeping your house, and avoiding unnecessary debt during your divorce proceedings. Divorce cases can take years to become finalized and an experienced divorce lawyer can petition the court for temporary spousal support.

Calculating Spousal Support

When determining the final amount of spousal support, a judge must consider the factors in California Family Code section 4320. These factors include:

  • The length of the marriage

  • The needs of each spouse based on the standard of living they had during their marriage

  • The earnings of each spouse

  • Whether a job would make it difficult to care for the children

  • Age of both spouses

  • Health of both spouses

  • Debts and assets of both spouses

  • Whether one spouse was directly responsible for helping another spouse obtain education, training, or a professional license

  • Instances of domestic violence

  • Whether one spouse’s career was affected by taking care of children

  • Tax impacts of spousal support

  • Marketable skills of each spouse

  • And more


Enforcing and Changing Spousal Support

Once a court orders your spouse to pay spousal support or alimony, he or she must comply with the court’s instructions. Failure to pay spousal support is unacceptable and can have serious legal consequences. If the court determines that your spouse is able to pay support but he or she fails to do so, the court can hold your spouse in “contempt of court” and a warrant could be issued for his or her arrest. This is often used as last resort, when all other enforcement tools have failed.

There are times when a spousal support order must be changed. If a spouse’s financial situation changes, he or she loses their job, or the spouse receiving the support no longer needs it, you can ask the court to change the spousal support order.

Scottie Leming – Here to Help You

Scottie Leming understands the various nuances of parentage laws and will advise you on how to move through the process to establish or dispute paternity given your current family situation. She will work to protect your legal rights, as well as the rights of your child. Call (951) 348-0239 or email to learn more about all of your paternity options.

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