The Concept of ‘Jackson Credit’ for Child Support in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmThere have been instances in California divorces where one parent has ended up giving 100% of his/her time for child support despite being granted equal child support in the court. Usually, the parent who takes care of the child for the majority of time should pay less but in some cases, the reverse has taken place.  The ‘Jackson credit’ became applicable after the famous Jackson vs. Jackson case.

The Jackson vs. Jackson case

In the Jackson vs. Jackson case, the mother charged the father with child support defaults while the child has been living with the father for 100% of the time. Initially, the trial court supported the mother saying the father attempted to change court orders for child care support. However, when the father appealed, the court said that even though the law does not allow an individual parent to make changes in child care support rules, the father fulfilled his obligations for child support.

What is a Jackson Credit?

A Jackson Credit is granted to noncustodial parents who prove that during custodial support, they paid their share of the custodial support. Courts allow child care support credits to parents who take care of the child and provide child care support as well. It saves one parent from substantial financial damage that can be incurred during child care support.

When can a Jackson Credit be claimed?

During arrears calculation, a non-custodial parent can claim a Jackson Credit for the time he/she spent with the child when he/she was not supposed to. Parents who can provide evidence that the child was under his/her care 100% of the time are eligible for Jackson Credits. In many cases, parents who have failed to show proper evidence have been barred from receiving a Jackson credit. Knowing how the credit system works can help save unnecessary financial loss. It is, therefore, important to talk to an attorney first before proceeding with the Jackson Credit.

The Jackson credit is applicable for parents who have paid for child care despite giving 100% of their time for child care. The credit system has been established to help parents save themselves from financial losses. The Jackson credit was created after a famous case that involved a mother demanding child care support from a father even when the father has been taking care of the child the entire time. If you are faced with a similar situation, it is vital that you speak to an experienced lawyer.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

What Role Does Parent’s Income Play In Child Support?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmDuring a divorce that involves children, one of the parent ends up having custody over the children while the other parent pays a certain amount as child support.  It is very important that parents calculate the amount of child support they need to pay. Parents should first work out where and with whom the children will live. Once that is sorted out, both parents should decide on a certain amount that must be paid for child support. The parent who loses custody battle usually become the primary child support payer. It is usually the parent with the higher income.

To calculate the gross annual income, parents need to look at their income tax return and the amount that is stated. From that amount they must minus union dues if present. It will give a fair idea of what each parent earns in a month. Additionally, they can contact a Child Support Services officer to help them chalk out the best plan for child support.

A split parenting can occur when there are more than two children involved and when each parent becomes the primary caretaker of each child. In such cases, it becomes the duty to each parent to contribute equally for child support. But that again it depends on the annual income of each parent.

There are many child support calculators available online. Such online calculator which has been created by the state gives an relatively accurate idea about the amount each parent need to spend each year for child support.

Conclusion

Parental income is very important for child support decisions because it determines how much each parent should pay for supporting their child. A child support calculator considers important factors like annual salary and expenses and determines a guideline amount to be paid.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.

Does Adultery Affect Spousal Support in California?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce attorney; The Maggio Law FirmWhen it comes to dealing with the cases of legal separation or divorce, the California courts follow the no-fault approach that specifically states that an individual is not required to prove the ‘fault’ of another party to obtain a divorce. This implies that a judge in California will not, under any circumstance, consider adultery or infidelity of a partner as a deciding factor while granting the divorce. However, there are certain considerations which a court might make in deciding the spousal support or alimony in an adulterous marriage.

How adultery can effect the spousal support in a divorce

More often than not, while dealing with a case of adultery in a divorce, a judge has the discretion to decide upon the duration and amount of spousal support to be paid and also whether there is any need for support at all. Infidelity cannot be used as a weapon to deny an adulterous spouse his or right to receive alimony from the other partner, if he or she is found eligible for it. However, if an adulterous spouse moves in with his or her new partner and starts living with them during the litigation process, the situation might turn somewhat complicated for both the parties. Owing to the fact, that a judge will only consider an individual’s financial requirements and not his personal conduct, the amount of spousal support to be received by an adulterous partner might be decreased, if he or she continues to cohabitate with a new lover, on the grounds of an improved quality of life and the sharing of expenses.

The factors that influence spousal support

The court of law is obliged to consider a few pivotal factors in deciding upon the final settlement for alimony.

  • Whether the earning capacity of both partners is sufficient for maintaining the quality of life established during their relationship or not
  • The contribution of the receiver in catering to the financial needs of the other partner during the marriage
  • A partner’s ability to pay the required amount of spousal support to the other spouse
  • The length or duration of the marriage
  • The health and age of both the spouses
  • Any history of domestic violence or child abuse that might have occurred during the marriage
  • Any criminal convictions on the receiving spouse
  • The tax implications of receiving and paying the spousal support on each of the two partners

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Can Spouses Convicted Of Domestic Violence Get Alimony?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

restraining orders Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmDomestic violence is an unpleasant subject and has plagued the lives of many couples. The number of domestic violence cases are more than that which get reported every year. Domestic violence is often one of the grounds on which one spouse seeks divorce. In California, domestic violence can mean many different things and you should carefully read through the California law before proceeding with the case.

Domestic violence in California

California is a “no-fault” state but in certain cases like domestic violence fault is a factor. In California, fault is thoroughly examined when spousal supports are determined in a domestic violence case.

California law states that after divorce the higher earner must support the lower earner. But in domestic violence cases, this law can be overlooked. For example, if domestic violence charges are against a spouse who earns lower then, after divorce, the other spouse need to provide spousal support.

California Family Code section 4323 clearly states that spousal support won’t be given if a spouse is charged and found guilty of domestic violence. In a standard divorce, the low-earner receives spousal support unless he/she is charged with domestic violence. If he/she is found guilty then any monetary compensation or other help will get terminated. One issue is that the marriage must have lasted for at least five years after which the rule stands true. The law is found in some of the states and provides a helping hand to the victims of domestic violence.

Examination by courts

Any domestic violence that has been documented will be examined thoroughly by trial courts. The decision will determine whether spousal support will be provided or not. Trial courts will also consider emotional distress, history of convictions and other problems which might be useful.

In California, domestic violence includes a wide range of problems. One of them is one spouse disrupting the peace of another. Domestic violence in other states might be only about physical assaults but not in California. Domestic violence is a serious offence in California and even the lightest change in behavior can lead to domestic violence.

False allegations

Can domestic violence be misused by someone? This question can be best answered by a law expert or one who has had extensive experience in dealing with such issues. The judge needs to look at all the evidence provided and after carefully going through the evidence, it will take its decision.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Important Factors Court Look At In Deciding Spousal Support

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmSpousal support or alimony is one of the most burning issues of a divorce or a legal separation. Many a times, the spouse who is required to make a hefty support payment might feel that it is quite unfair for him to carry on with the financial obligation towards their ex spouse even when the actual relationship ends. However, in order to make the alimony settlement with due fairness, there are several considerations that a judge must keep in mind while deciding upon the final verdict.

Duration of the marriage or domestic partnership

In cases involving a long term or permanent spousal support or alimony order, the court of law is obligated to align it with the length of the wedlock or domestic partnership. The basic aim of alimony is to ensure that the spouse receiving the support is able to meet the financial requirements of their sustenance and lifestyle within a stipulated time. The state law of California describes this stipulated time typically as half of the actual duration of the marriage or partnership. However, the same law also provides a discretionary power to the judge to make a deviation from the rule as per the requirement of the individual case.

A major deviation example will be in the case of long term marriages or partnerships that have lasted for a period of 10 years or more. In such cases, the judge has the discretion to entirely do away with the stipulation of an end date for the alimony, which will then carry on for a lifetime.

Domestic violence or abuse

While making a final alimony settlement, the judge is obligated to look for documented accounts or evidences of any domestic violence in the past, between the two parties involved. In case the abusive partner is supposed to make the alimony payments, the judge will evaluate the level of mental and emotional distress that the other partner may have suffered at the hands of their violent spouse.

Apart from this, in the event that a criminally convicted abusive spouse demands an alimony from his or her partner, the court may go for a rebuttable presumption against granting him the right of receiving any spousal or partner support.

There are several other considerations such as tax impact, standard of living, age and health, property and debts, unemployment and the like, that the judge has to account for before announcing a final verdict for alimony.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Understanding Spousal/Partner Support in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county spousal support; The Maggio Law FirmIn many divorce or legal separation cases, the court of law may arrange for a monthly financial support that one of spouse has to contribute to for his/her partner. The court of law stipulates a fixed amount called spousal support, partner support or alimony which has to be paid by one party to the other on a monthly basis.

When to request for a spousal or partner support?

One of the domestic partners or spouse can file a case for obtaining alimony in the court of law in the event of a divorce, legal separation, annulment or a restraining order for domestic violence. An individual can file a request for support to be paid to him/her even when the case is still pending in the court of law. The aforementioned type of spousal support is often termed as temporary spousal support order. On the other hand, you may also request spousal support as an auxiliary settlement post the final verdict of a divorce or legal separation case. In such cases, it is termed as long term or permanent partner or spousal support.

What happens if an individual falls behind on his spousal support payment?

As the settlement for spousal support is stipulated in a legal court order, it must be followed as per the agreement instructions up until the end date, or for as long as the court doesn’t alter or put an end to it. However, in the event that an individual fails to make the payment, he is charged with a 10% yearly interest on the due amount. If you fall back on your post-due partner or spousal support arrears, the court will order you pay the additional amount along with the monthly support payments. The aforementioned additional amount is referred to as liquidation amount and is contributed towards your due arrears. However, even if you continue with the arrear payment via monthly installments, the yearly interest will still be charged on the balance due amount.

In the event that a court of law finds out that you are intentionally falling behind on your monthly alimony payments even when you have the means and the ability to pay for them, it may charge you with the contempt of court. Such charges can be extremely grave and may even result in you being imprisoned.

Both spousal and partner support are complex legal proceedings which would require you to consult a professional attorney before you file for the same in the court of law.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

What’s The Process for Filing For Child Support In California?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmThe process of seeking child support in California has different stages to it. It is advisable to enlist the help of experienced lawyers who practice child support laws in California. The process will require you to fill out a number of detailed information. It is best your lawyer helps you do this.

Child support cases can become quite complex. Self representation should not be considered. You may be a parent seeking or disputing child support, but these are the different stages in the child support process that you need to be aware of.

Filing a request for child support

The filing of a request for child support can be done in 2 ways. Most commonly, the parent seeking child support will have to file an FL-300 form. Or your attorney may want to type out the formal request declaration detailing in legal terms the basis of such a request. Sometimes a child support case may be filed because a local child support agency has approached the California Department of Child Support Services.

Declaring your income and expenditures

A request for child support should have a declaration of the income and expenditures of the parents of the involved child. Failure to provide these critical details will affect the process and outcome of the child support case. The parent seeking support may be denied the requested amount of child support.  The parent opposing the child support request, based on an assumption made by the court about his or her income, may have to pay more.

Serving the request order to the other parent

The other parent is served with the child support request order once the request has been filed. The method of serving the order depends on whether the other parent has already been served with a paternity or divorce petition. It is also greatly influenced by the fact that whether the other parent is a resident of California or not.

Deadline for responding to the order

The parent receiving the request order will have to reply within 9 working days of the court and before the date of the hearing of the child support case.

The hearing 

The court will review the documents submitted by each parent, and listen to testimonies made under oath to make a decision on the child support case. The court will listen to all disputes and issues that are well supported with factual evidence.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Calculating Child Support in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child support attorney Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmThe calculation of the amount of child support in California is determined by a number of factors. Any child support payment includes the basic child support and health insurance coverage. There are other extra mandatory child support payments as well.

Factors influencing support calculations

There are mainly 4 factors that influence calculating the amount that is to be paid as support.

  • The number of children who are permitted to receive child support.
  • The parenting time or visitation right or custodial rights of each parent with the child.
  • The net disposable income of each parent. But computer software programs such as X-spouse and Dissomaster consider your gross income to determine how much can be set aside for child support.
  • In case there is more than 1 child, the youngest child receives the full amount of support an only child would have received. The other child or children is given an amount based on downward adjustment of the support amount.

Mandatory health insurance coverage

Every child receives a mandatory medical support from either or both the parents as long as the health insurance is free or is available at a reasonable premium. The health insurance should include medical, vision and dental coverage. Most commonly, group health insurance policies received at employment are the most reasonable of health insurances to be used in child support.

Mandatory child support extras or add-ons

  • Health care costs of the child that are uninsured are generally divided equally between the parents. California child support laws say not paying uninsured health care costs is akin to not paying child support. But payment of uninsured health care costs can be challenged in court which opens up scope for heavy litigation of such instances. All reasonable and necessary uninsured healthcare costs (those that are not related to cosmetic procedures) have to be shared by both parents.
  • A parent may be asked to pay an additional amount in support if the child needs special schooling or goes to a private school. But such costs are not needed if the child suddenly makes a transfer from a public to a private school. The parent’s ability to pay such costs will definitely be taken into consideration.
  • Travel expenses may have to be paid if the child has to travel a great distance to be with the noncustodial parent with visitation rights or the other way round.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Maintain Records Of Your Alimony Payments Post-Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmSpousal support or alimony is payment by a spouse to another spouse after a divorce. Alimony is not always given by the courts. It is mostly given where the marriage was a long lasting one and income of one spouse is more than the other. It is also given where one spouse has been out of the workforce to manage the household or raise children.

Alimony is tax- deductible for the person who pays. Conversely it is a taxable income for the recipient spouse. It follows that it is very advisable to keep all records when you pay or receive the alimony. These can turn out to be extremely important. It is seen that spouses dispute post-divorce over the amount which is actually received or paid. If there is insufficient documentation, the payer may lose alimony tax deduction or can be pushed to pay back -support in-case the spouse wants to make a court claim.

Payer of the alimony

It follows that each party must keep a list which shows each payment. This must include the date, check number and the address to which that check was actually sent. Records must also be kept of all the check originals used for making payments. These must be kept in a secure place, like safe deposit boxes. Ensure that a note must be made on each check for every month when the support is paid. In case the support is being paid in cash, the payment receipts must be kept, and signed by recipient. These records must be kept for a minimum period of three years from date you have filed tax return which was deducted from the payments, but it is advisable to keep them as long as possible.

Recipient of the alimony

The spouse who receives the support must prepare a list which displays every payment received. Information like the date of received payment and the amount received should be carefully kept. Identifying information like the money order number or check number and the account number on which the check gets written must be preserved. Other important documents on the list include the bank name on which the money order is issued or check drawn must be documented. Photocopies of the money order or check and any copy of the signed receipt given for cash payments must also be filed away for future use.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Changing A Child Support Order

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmMany people nowadays have trouble meeting child support payment requirements due to change in their living or professional circumstances. If you receive or pay child support, they could be a time when you feel that the support order must be changed. You can make this happen.

Parents and the modification of support

The first step you must make is to see whether you and your spouse can reach an agreement to modify relevant child support terms. If this is possible, you can simply request a judge to approve such a change. This will be done without any hassle. There will be a problem only if the amount is less than what the State of California has stated in such a case. If this is the case, you must give a detailed explanation of why you are doing this and how can the new amount will provide for the support of the child.

Requesting the court to modify support

If you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on the change, you will require to ask for the appropriate court hearing. Both you and your ex could argue for the appropriate amount. The general rule is that for getting a modification you must show that something about your own circumstances have changed from the time the court gave the existing and last order. The court, depending in nature of changed circumstances, may grant a modification. The list of changes which will provide a temporary modification include the medical emergency of the child, the temporary inability of the payer to pay or temporary medical or financial hardship on the recipient parent’s part.

You may get a modification if either one of you change to a new job or lose the existing one and get a markedly different income. Another condition will be if any of you remarries and the income of the new spouse significantly jacks up the income of the household.  Modification will also be given if there is an increase in the cost of living or either one of you suffers a disability. It can also be done if the needs of he child change significantly or there is a change in the child support laws. The permanent modification of the child support order will be kept in place until the time the support is not needed or if the order gets modified due to changed circumstances.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

 
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