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Spousal / Child Support

Orange County ◦ Riverside County Child Support and Spousal Support Attorney

Child Support
Mandatory child support is generally determined by using statutory formulas based on parents’ income and other circumstances, but there may be reasons to deviate from the standard child support guidelines.

To determine mandatory and non-mandatory child support contributions, such as which parent pays for college tuition or for braces or summer camp, divorcing or separating parents can negotiate and agree on their own creative solutions. In order to ensure that your rights are protected, concerning child support decisions made during your divorce or unmarried parent proceedings, contact The Maggio Law Firm to schedule a consultation.

Spousal Support (Alimony)
Spousal support may be granted to a husband or wife who has devoted years as a stay-at-home parent or where there is a significant disparity of income. When a marital separation first occurs, temporary spousal support may be required to help the dependent spouse through the transition from dependant spouse to self-supporting single parent. The longer a marriage has lasted, the better the chance that permanent spousal support will be established by the court.

Factors that the courts consider when determining spousal support typically include the following:

  • The standard of living that the dependent spouse was accustomed to during the marriage
  • Reimbursement of support that the dependent spouse provided the wage-earning spouse during medical school, business school or another educational program
  • The educational level of the dependent spouse
  • The health of the dependent spouse
  • The ages of husband and wife

In many cases, a family law court will sanction spousal support to allow the dependent spouse to go back to school and obtain job training for a new career with the goal of ultimate self-sufficiency.


1. California Differentiates Between Short-Term vs. Long-Term Marriages
California law makes a distinction between “short-term” and “long-term” marriages in determining the duration of spousal support payments and the jurisdiction of the court to award spousal support.

2. A Short-Term Marriage Is One Less Than 10 Years In Duration.
For marriages less than 10 years in duration, California law and precedent maintains that the spouse obligated to pay spousal support is obligated to do so for one-half the length of the actual marriage.

3. A Long-Term Marriage Is 10 Years Or More.
For a long-term marriage, the court generally has continuing jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support and the longer the marriage, generally the prospect of continuing spousal support for many years to come.

So what does this mean? It means that spousal support for a short-term marriage is generally for a fixed period of time. For a marriage over 10 years in duration, it means that spousal support is not necessarily fixed and can be ongoing, and the longer the marriage, the more that spousal support could be permanent.

4. Temporary Spousal Support vs. Permanent Spousal Support
“Temporary Spousal Support” (also known as “Pendite Lite” spousal support) generally is spousal support awarded while a divorce is pending and not yet finalized. Such temporary spousal support is generally calculated using the Dissomaster support calculator, much like child support in California is determined.

“Permanent Spousal Support” is spousal support beyond the conclusion of a California divorce and is generally determined by the court at trial. Such a determination is substantially more complicated than determining temporary spousal support. To determine the amount of long-term spousal support, the Court must consider such factors as the standard of living during the marriage, the length of the marriage, the needs of the parties, the age, health, earning capacity and job histories of both parties. In fact, California Family Code section 4320 states the specific factors that the Court has to consider in determining long-term spousal support as follows:

a. The extent to which each party’s earning capacity is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage;
b. The contributions of the supported party to the paying party’s education, training, career position, or professional license;
c. The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support;
d. The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage;
e. The obligations and asset, including separate property, of each party;
f. The duration of the marriage;
g. The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without interfering with the interests of dependent children;
h. The age and health of the parties;
i. Any history of domestic violence between the parties;
j. The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party;
k. The balance of the hardships to each party;
l. The goal that the supported party become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time (usually one-half the length of the marriage)
m. Any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
n. Any other factors the court deems just and equitable.

In situations where neither party needs spousal support at the moment, the Court can reserve jurisdiction to order spousal support in the future if there were any change of circumstances, such as serious illness, disability, or loss of employment.

5. Spousal Support Is Tax-Deductible. Spousal support is generally considered under state and Federal law to be tax-deductible to the spouse who is paying such support, and is reportable income to the spouse who receives such income.

Family Law Experience

An experienced spousal and child support lawyer is of great assistance when divorcing spouses customize their own agreements. Contact The Maggio Law Firm to schedule a consultation and discuss child custody, child support or alimony (spousal support) with a California family law attorney.