Child and Spousal Support

Child Support:

Child support is defined as the ongoing monetary expenditures to cover the children’s necessary needs. California Family Code provides that child support is to be paid each month until the child dies, marries, is emancipated by decree, becomes self-supporting, attains the age of 18 and is not a full time high school student, residing with a parent.

In California child support is determined via a Court authorized computer program and is based upon various factors:

● each parent’s monthly gross (before taxes) income;
● current custody arrangements for the child;
● which parent pays health insurance for the child;
● any other children either parent has that are not from this parent union;
● various other allowable deductions under the Family Code for mandatory retirement payments, union dues, property taxes, and mortgage payments.

California Family Code also provides that uninsured medical expenses, child care costs, and special educational needs shall be shared equally between the parents.

Until the child is no longer entitled to receive child support, the Court retains jurisdiction to modify the support for the best interest of the child.

Spousal Support:

Spousal Support, also known as alimony, is a financial award intended to maintain the standard of living of the parties. Temporary support is intended to allow the dependent or supported spouse to have the opportunity to maintain the standard of living achieved during the marriage while moving forward to becoming self supporting.

Permanent or long-term support is determined at time of trial and is dependent upon the various factors set forth in Family Code section 4320. Some of these factors include:

● each spouse’s current income;
● what is needed to get the supported spouse back into the work force;
● the amount of time the supported spouse was out of the work force raising children;
● the supported spouse’s previous education and whether any additional education or retraining is needed;
● the length of the marriage, the age and the health of the parties;
● the marital standard of living;
● the age and any special needs of the children;
● any domestic abuse that occurred during the marriage;

Once these and other factors are reviewed by the Court a determination of the amount of permanent or long-term support is set by the Court.

It is the goal of the State of California that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time.

Spousal support continues until either party’s death, remarriage of the receiving party, cohabitation of the receiving party, modification, revocation, or by further order of the Court, whichever occurs first. The duration of support is dependent upon the facts of each case.

Spousal support is taxable to the recipient and tax deductible to the payor.

Once the parties are divorced medical insurance is no longer available to the spouse of the insured party. Some insurance plans offer COBRA policies which will continue the insurance for the spouse for a period of 36 months. However, the premiums are the responsibility of the divorced spouse.