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Support Obligations for Child & Spouse

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A family provides its members with a lot of things—including emotional and financial support.  When divorce causes the breakdown of a family, there is not much a court can do about the members' loss of emotional support; however it is possible for the courts to provide a continuation of the financial support for both the former spouse and the children.

Spousal Support

If you are facing a divorce, you may be concerned about supporting yourself.  In a marriage, courts continue to uphold a spouse's obligation to support a former spouse where it can be shown the payments

  • correct an imbalance in incomes
  • address a financial need or
  • serve to keep parties during the divorce in standards of living similar to that enjoyed during marriage.

A court may find one or more of these factors exist where there is a need to support a spouse until he or she can be trained with employable skills.   Additional factors under California law that may be considered in determining support include such things as a history of domestic violence, special needs of dependent children and the length of the marriage. 

At the law firm of MacKenzie & Associates, our clients gain the benefit of Mr. MacKenzie's advanced legal training in tax and finances (he has received an MBA) to fully analyze financial issues of support and property division.   An equitable division of marital property can go a long was to ensuring that the parties have what they need to begin the next phase of their life.  When small, family-owned businesses are part of the marital estate, Mr. MacKenzie has the skills to ensure a proper estimate is given. 

Child Support

Regardless of the conduct of the spouses, the law views the children as innocent bystanders in a divorce and worthy of protection.   As a result, the duty to pay child support is a continuous obligation that exists regardless of the marital status of the parents.  The purpose of child support is to keep the child at the same standard of living as that of the supporting parent. 

In California, child support is based in large part on a formula taking into account the income and assets of the non-custodial parent.   Where the parties share custody of the children, adjustments in child support are made accordingly, as it is presumed that the parent with physical custody spends a greater portion of his or her assets on the care of the children. 

While ideally the support of the children should come from the two parents, in some cases, the parent with primary custody may need to receive AFDC payments in order to support themselves or the children.   In the case of a child whose custodial parent is receiving public assistance, the District Attorney for the county where the child resides may become involved with the collection of child support from the non-custodial parent.  In these cases, any unpaid support is assessed interest at a rate of 10%.  For this reason, it is especially important that a non-custodial spouse not be ordered to pay unrealistic support payments.  

Our firm has represented parents in all phases of support proceedings.  We have represented clients who have been contacted by the District Attorneys regarding arrearages.  We have also represented parents in their efforts to collect support from former spouses who make no effort to financially contribute to their children's welfare.  We have been successful in having former spouses submit to vocational evaluation when they refuse to work, have their businesses appraised when they claim they are not making money, and have the court impute income to them when they refuse to work.

If you are having problems with spousal or child support, your lawyer should be familiar with the false financial arguments routinely advanced to avoid support obligations.  You need an attorney who will enforce for your legal right to support through all legal means available.  Call us at 510-537-7200 today.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

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