Major Factors Used in Calculating Child Support in California

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

California uses a child support guideline formula to determine the appropriate amounts owed to the custodial parent. This guideline depends heavily on net income and the amount of time each parent spends with the child or children.

The California Family Court looks at two main factors when calculating child support: each parent’s net income and the amount of time each parent spends with the child or children. Additional factors that may have an effect on the overall amount of child support awarded to the custodial parent include child care expenses, medical insurance premiums, home mortgage payments, tax filing status, and any other expenses that may impact the family’s financial situation.

When a judge calculates child support amounts, he or she will look very closely at the amount of time each parent spends with the child or children. This amount of time is then entered into a complex formula that is used to calculate support payments, often referred to as the “J Factor.” This element is named so because the California Child Support Guideline operates using a mathematical formula in which “J” refers to the amount of time the non-custodial parent spends with the child or children.

The formula used in calculating child support is the same in every case and in every court in California. Because the formula used to calculate the child support amounts is complicated, the court most commonly utilizes a computer program called a Dissomaster™ to calculate the monthly child support amounts. The information entered into the program will be provided by the custodial and non-custodial parent. However, an experienced family law attorney will negotiate certain items with the other party to ensure that the proper child support is received each month.

“Family law attorneys will often negotiate what gets calculated into the non-custodial parent’s net income. They may ask the court to award support based on bonuses, commissions, overtime work and any other supplemental income they feel is regularly occurring,” explained Gerald A. Maggio, an Orange County divorce attorney.

Basic child support does not include the cost of child care or uninsured medical expenses. These additional costs will be considered by the court and will be ordered in addition to the guideline support.

These types of expenses are called mandatory add-ons, and a judge will take them into consideration before deciding on a final amount. Usually, a court will order that each parent is responsible for paying half of the child care expenses necessary for the custodial parent to be employed full time. In addition, the court will order that each parent be responsible for one half of the child or children’s medical and dental expenses which are not covered by insurance.

Although calculating child support can be a complex process, it’s important that a judge consider all of the factors when awarding child support amounts. “Parents have an important responsibility to provide for their children. Paying the appropriate amount of child support fulfills that obligation. Not getting the appropriate amount of child support will place financial strain on the custodial parent, and this, in turn, will put the child or children at great risk,” noted Maggio.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce lawyer Gerald Maggio, contact The Maggio Law Firm by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting http://www.maggiolawfirm.com/.

The Maggio Law Firm Explains the Benefits of Choosing Mediation

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmGoing through a divorce can be a difficult time for couples. Not only must they decide on an attorney to hire, but they must also consider whether a divorce can be handled through mediation rather than litigation.

Mediation is a practical option that can offer couples a chance to end their marriage in the spirit of cooperation rather than hostility. Once mediation is chosen as an option, the couple will work with a mediator to reach an amicable resolution of any issues that remain at the dissolution of the marriage.

“Mediation can offer couples the opportunity to end their marriage in a manner that minimizes stress and maximizes cooperation. During mediation, both parties can work together to achieve a positive outcome where both parties get some of what they want,” explained Gerald A. Maggio, an Orange County divorce attorney.

One of the most common reasons couples choose mediation is because it is less expensive than litigation. A couple will need to hire only one person to assist them in their divorce, rather than two separate attorneys. It is a flexible, inexpensive way for a couple to end their marriage without much conflict.

Mediation is also a good choice for couples because it offers them a greater degree of control than other options. When couples choose to pursue litigation, all of the decisions regarding their future rest in the hands of a stranger who really does not know their situation and personal circumstances.

“If divorces are settled through litigation, a judge will be responsible for making decisions that will affect a family’s future. A judge will have limited time to hear the details of each divorce case and cannot carefully consider how a decision will affect a family in the long-term. Mediation, on the other hand, offers families the flexibility to take as much time as necessary to consider how these decisions will impact their future,” indicated Maggio.

A divorce can have a traumatic effect on children, and pursuing mediation instead of litigation is often easier on them. When choosing to use a mediator, it can help families move forward in a way this is amicable. Children will not be subjected to a bitter battle in a court room, and the couple will be able to work together to find the best solution without putting the children in the middle. “Placing children in the middle of difficult divorce proceedings could impact their ability to have healthy relationships and may cause them to suffer emotional problems that can carry into adulthood. Mediation allows parents to discuss important decisions in an arena that is less stressful on child,” added Maggio.

Mediation is also a great option because it does not limit couples from going to court. If a couple is not satisfied in mediation and cannot come up with a solution that fits both parties, they can stop at any time, retain separate attorneys and have a judge decide their important issues.

Mediation is not the only alternative to an unpleasant divorce experience, but it is an option that deserves serious consideration. A family law attorney is an excellent choice for a mediator, as he or she will know and understand the rules of divorce and will understand the type of decisions a judge could make, if the matter has to be litigated. A divorce attorney serving as a mediator can also prepare the necessary documentation to complete the divorce process in the court.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce lawyer Gerald Maggio, contact The Maggio Law Firm by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting http://www.maggiolawfirm.com/.

The Essential California Divorce Document Checklist

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

When filing for a divorce in California, there are a number of different documents you should provide for your attorney, so that he or she can know how to best proceed in the matter. Depending on the issues involved in your case, you may wish to produce documents that date back approximately a year prior to the date on which you separated from your spouse through the present time. In some cases, you will need to provide documents that date further back. If this is the case, your attorney will advise you regarding exactly which documents are necessary.Getting all of these documents together before you file for divorce will help your attorney speed-up the divorce process. In addition, it will help preserve critical evidence that may be needed to resolve your case. You should gather the following documents:

  • Individual income tax returns from the past three to five years (federal and state)
  • Any business income tax returns from the past three to five years (federal and state)
  • Proof of your current income (Including W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and recent pay stubs)
  • Prenuptial agreement, if one exists
  • Bank statements
  • Retirement account statements
  • Stock portfolios and options
  • Pension statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Any existing loan documents
  • Utility bills and other bills (tuition, medical bills, etc.)
  • Life, health, automobile and homeowners insurance policies
  • Real property deeds for each property you or your spouse own, or any properties owned by any entity that you have an interest in
  • A detailed list of personal property, including jewelry, home furnishings, artwork, electronic equipment, clothing, etc. If you and your spouse own any particularly valuable or unique items you may wish to photograph them and inventory them and perhaps obtain an appraisal.
  • List of real property and assets owned by each spouse prior to marriage
  • Wills, trusts, living wills, powers of attorney, durable powers of attorney

It is important to remember that this list is not exhaustive. Your family law attorney may require additional documents from you. The more of these documents you can provide, the easier it will be to proceed with your divorce.

Gerald A. Maggio is an Orange County divorce attorney, in Irvine, California.  For more information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce lawyer Gerald Maggio, contact The Maggio Law Firm by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting www.maggiolawfirm.com.

Can Long-Term Spousal Support Be Terminated or Modified in California?

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

Long-term spousal support in California cases can be amended or terminated under certain circumstances. Supporting partners have a number of different options available to them, if they wish to pursue a modification or termination of the support they provide.

In most cases, long-term spousal support can be terminated or modified at any time during the support period. The only instance when this is not true is when there is a written agreement by the parties expressly stating that spousal support is non-modifiable. In the absence of such an agreement, the court generally retains continuing spousal support jurisdiction and can decide to terminate or reduce spousal support in later court proceedings.

If the court assumes continuing spousal support jurisdiction, then the court may grant a request to modify spousal support if the supporting party can demonstrate a material change of circumstance since the most recent court order outlining the spousal support. When reviewing a modification or termination request, the court will consider the following factors:

Reducing Support if Spouse Is Self Supporting – The California Family Code emphasizes that even in long-term marriages, defined as those which last 10 years or more, the supported spouse has a duty to become self-supporting within a reasonable amount of time, which is considered to be one-half the length of the marriage. Generally, if the duration of the marriage is less than ten years, a supported spouse is expected to become self-supporting in half the length of the marriage. Modification or termination of the support can be ended before this time. If the spouse has not made any reasonable efforts to become self-supporting, you may ask the court to terminate the spousal support. If, on the other hand, your former spouse has actually increased his or her earnings, you will be able to present evidence of this in court and argue that he or she now has a reduced need for support.

Reducing Spousal Support Based on Obligations – In some cases, the supported party’s separate estate, including any and all assets allocated to him or her in the community property division, and its reasonable income potential, may be enough for you to seek a reduction or termination of previously awarded spousal support.

Other Factors that affect Modification of Spousal Support include:

  • Remarriage – Unless the parties have made an agreement in writing, a spousal support order automatically terminates when the supported party gets remarried.
  • Cohabitation – Cohabitation may also be a basis for seeking a modification or termination of a spousal support order. If your former spouse is cohabitating with a member of the opposite sex in a romantic relationship, you can request that the court order a termination of support or a downward modification of support.
  • Retirement – The retirement of the supporting party may be sufficient basis to receive a termination of support; however, it will be important to prove that the supporting spouse has a right to retire and is not choosing early retirement.

Whether you can terminate or reduce your existing spousal support obligation depends upon the unique facts and circumstances of your case. If you are considering modifying or terminating your spousal support order, you should contact a family law attorney who will review your case and advise you on how best to proceed.

Gerald A. Maggio is an Orange County divorce attorney, in Irvine, California.   For more information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce lawyer Gerald Maggio, contact The Maggio Law Firm by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting www.maggiolawfirm.com.

 
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