Learn More About Alimony And Child Support

Child support is generally paid by the higher earning parent to the lower earning parent as a contribution to the needs of the children. If the child resides an equal amount of time with each parent, the parent with the lower income may still be entitled to child support. If the parents have joint custody, this does not mean the parties will be ordered to pay equally for the children's needs. Relative incomes and time share will be the major factors in determining child support.

Under California child support law, child support is determined under statewide guidelines through use of a computer program that family law attorneys can run in their offices. The formula is based on the gross income of the parents, the amount of time the child spends with the parties, the cost of child care, and other factors, such as health insurance payments and other necessary ongoing costs.

Support Modifications

In the case of child support modifications, the loss of a job, the evolving needs of growing children, and other events can bring about the need to make changes in the amount of child support after a divorce. These can either be negotiated between the parents with the help of a San Francisco lawyer or resolved by a judge in a court modification hearing.

Spousal Support

A family law court may order monthly payments by one spouse to support the other spouse pending a divorce, legal separation or nullity and on a permanent basis after considering such things as the length of marriage, the incomes of the parties, health issues and other factors. Formerly referred to as alimony, spousal support can continue after the conclusion of the divorce, based on an analysis of factors outlined in Section 4320 of the California Family Code. Spousal support can be awarded in addition to any child support.

Either spouse may be ordered to pay spousal support to the other. For couples married less than 10 years, the typical length of spousal support ordered is one-half the length of the marriage (or until the supported spouse is remarried).

In long-term marriages (generally considered 10 years or more), permanent spousal support can be awarded until either spouse's death or remarriage or a fixed date, depending on the circumstances of the parties. In awarding permanent spousal support, a judge must consider each party's income and earnings; earning capacity; age and health of the parties; obligations and assets of each party; duration of the marriage; needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage; education; job skills; occupation of each party, etc.