Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law

FAQ ‘s: Here I have compiled a list of questions that people often ask me.

Remember, there is no such thing as a dumb question. If you don’t know something, ask!

I update this list frequently, so if you have a question, please submit it here. I guarantee someone out there has the same question.

Remember, any information on my website or blog in NO WAY should be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please schedule a consult.

    In addition, you may find information on my frequently updated BLOG helpful.

    Child / Spousal Support - Top 5 Questions

    Alimony, or spousal support, is support payments made after separation. Men and women can both receive this. This is based on the concept that during the marriage, you have an obligation to support your spouse. This obligation will last even after separation, depending on several factors. Unlike child support, which is based on a strict mathematical formula, spousal support is based on the factors enumerated in Family Code section 4320. Spousal support used to be deductible for the payor, and taxable to the recipient.  Not anymore.  Trump’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act repealed this provision, and after December 31, 2018, spousal support will no longer be deductible for ongoing divorces (previous divorce Judgments will be grandfathered).

    A very simple answer to this question is that if you have been married for over 10 years, the court may retain jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support, and you may be entitled to support of indefinite duration.  Derivative social security rights also arise from a 10-year marriage.

    However, many many many factors affect the outcome, so I would make sure you ask your lawyer before assuming you are paying or receiving lifetime alimony.  This article may also help: 10 Year Rule Much Ado About Nothing.

    There is no simple formula to spousal support. Whereas child support is an algebraic formula provide by CA Family Code 4055, spousal support is not exactly determined via formula.

    In Los Angeles, the courts may use Dissomaster (child support program) to calculate temporary spousal support, but this is not for sure, and permanent support is not dependent on Dissomaster.  The Los Angeles County Department of Child Support Services also provides a free child support calculator located here. For more information, please ask your lawyer.

    Child support lasts until the children are age 18, or if still in high school, 19. (Unless you have a special needs child, in which case it could be longer).

    Spousal support depends on a variety of factors. In a short term marriage (less than 10 years), Los Angeles County Courts will generally award 1/2 the length of the marriage. However, if there is a temporary order for support, and no termination date, this order will continue indefinitely. Be careful if you are the payor – it is easy for the recipient to “drag out” the divorce case and continue to receive alimony beyond half the length of the marriage.

    Ideally, if your husband is the only breadwinner, he will be paying support because he knows the law. However, if he refuses to pay, you must file a case and a Request for Order.

    In most circumstances, the order for support will begin on the date you file (even if the hearing is set out 2-3 months, as it typically is), so do not delay.