Child Support & Spousal Support

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Practice Areas
  4.  » Child Support & Spousal Support

Child Support Attorneys – Santa Barbara, CA

For parents, understanding their rights and obligations in child support matters can be difficult. When parents divorce or are unmarried the parent who does not live with their child is usually obligated to pay child support. Support is owed whether the child lives with their other parent or a third party, and whether or not the person with whom the child lives can afford to support the child on their own. Depending on the state, support may be owed even if the parents share custody.

Like other issues in regard to separation and divorce, child support may also be settled by written agreement or it may be determined in a court order. California, like other states, has adopted guidelines which establish rates of child support according to certain variable criteria related to family income and number of children.

The Child Support Guidelines

Support guidelines generally fall into one of three categories. Each uses a different approach to establish the amount of support, though they all consider the needs of the child. Provisions for medical costs and insurance are generally added to the basic amount suggested by the state guidelines.

Enforcement of Child Support

Child support may be enforced by the Court in a number of ways, including, wage withholding, garnishment, incarceration for contempt of court as well as other remedies. Where child support is agreed to in a separation agreement, or ordered by the court, and then not paid, there are a number of remedies to secure enforcement of the agreement or court order. If the child support is set up in a contractual agreement, the basic remedy is suit for breach of the contract, which would include a claim for the arrears. If child support is payable under a court order, whether originally established as a court order or entered as a result of a suit for breach of contract, the order is enforceable through the contempt powers of the court and penalties, including jail for non-compliance may be imposed.

California child support laws and procedures are very complicated and should not be handled without consulting an attorney first. Therefore it is imperative that you consult with an experienced family law attorney before making any decisions regarding your child support matters.

If you feel that you may have a potential case pertaining to Child Support please call (805) 879-7523 or click here to email us and have an attorney contact you about your case.

Spousal Support

Filing for divorce can be a very emotional and difficult time for anyone. Once an action for dissolution of marriage or legal separation has been filed, the Court can address the issue of spousal support by carefully reviewing numerous factors. If you are unable to settle or resolve the issue on your own, your attorney will need to help you develop a detailed plan. In issuing spousal support, the court will consider all of the following circumstances:

  • the extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sustainable enough to maintain the standard of living like it was during the marriage
  • the extent to which the support party contributed to the education, training, career position or license by the supporting party
  • the ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets and standard of living
  • the needs of each party based on the standards of living established during the marriage
  • the assets of each party
  • the duration of the marriage
  • the ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party
  • the age and health of the parties
  • any criminal convictions
  • any other factors that the court determines are just and equitable

Keep in mind there is no legal obligation to pay spousal support by one party to another until there is a Court order. In limited situations, the Court can order spousal support in a nullity action. A Court order is obtained by filing a Notice of Motion or an Order to Show Cause and attending a scheduled hearing.

If you feel that you may have a potential case pertaining to family law please call (805) 879-7523 or click here to email us and have an attorney contact you about your case.