Make sure your interests are protected
If you are married, spousal support will be an issue in your divorce. If you had a child with your ex, you may be able to get child support, or you may have to pay child support. We can help you understand the situation and get the right support orders.
Spousal support is the payment that a Court may order one spouse to pay another spouse when a couple gets divorced. The purpose of spousal support is to ensure that the economic welfare of the lower income earning or non-income earning spouse is not unfairly affected by the separation or divorce. Regardless of what side of the situation you’re on, you need to understand the factors used to determine support, and how to best present your arguments to the Court.
The rule of thumb in California for spousal support is that it lasts for one half the duration of the marriage, or if the marriage is over 10 years in length, until the Court determines it should end, but there are a lot of factors that can change that.
If you ex isn’t working, maybe they should be. Maybe they are refusing to work, or not reporting their income. On the other hand, maybe you’ve been a full time parent and gave up your career. In either case, it may be necessary to get a vocational assessment as part of the divorce. That might require a Court order, and an expert to testify.
Changing Spousal Support
Unlike Child Support, there is no statewide guideline. Some counties do use a guideline formula for temporary spousal support, but not for support after a dissolution is finished. Also, the rules for when spousal support can be modified and how long it lasts are different. If you owe arrears, it’s may be possible to settle for a lesser amount. If you are owed arrears there a variety of enforcement means that can be used to get the money you need.
In most cases, child support lasts until a child turns 18. Up until then, it can be changed as long as there is a change of circumstances. Since child support is mostly based on income and time spent with the child, changes in either parents’ income, or in time spent with the child, can make changes in the support amount. The exact amount of guideline support is calculated using a computer program that takes all factors into account. Even after the guideline amount is determined, it may be possible to set support at a different amount if there’s a good reason.
Child support and temporary spousal support is calculated using a complicated formula based on the income of the parties and timeshare with the children. Some of the input factors are counter-intuitive, and need careful review.
Department of Child Support Services (DCSS)
Are you going to a hearing with DCSS? In Santa Clara County, that’s at 88 Ridder Park Drive in San Jose. In Alameda County, that would be with a child support commissioner in Hayward. If so, you probably need help to understand the process and to organize you financial data. Proper organization and presentation to the Court and the Department of Child Support Services can make a big difference in the support ordered.