Typically spousal support is paid in installments for a certain length of time or until the death of one of the spouses or the remarriage of the recipient. Unlike child support, and unless otherwise agreed spousal support is taxable to the recipient and deductible by the paying spouse under the rules of the Internal Revenue Service. Combining spousal support and child support into family support is a strategy many high earning spouses should use as they are better off paying family support and deducting a combination of child support and spousal support. Typically alimony is paid in pre-tax dollars and child support is paid in after-tax dollars. That means a dollar of spousal support may cost the paying spouse 60 cents whereas a dollar of child support costs $1.40, assuming the paying spouse pays 40 percent of income in taxes.
Child support in California ends on the emancipation of a child. Emancipation, meaning the child coming of age and capable of self-support. California has its own version of the Child Support Guidelines to help calculate an appropriate amount of support in a case.
Spousal Support might continue beyond the emancipation of the last child, and unlike child support, it is not determined by a set of published Guidelines. Judges have enormous discretion when awarding spousal support and look to the factors enunciated in Fam Code 4320 when awarding permanent support.
Difficulties arise that require discovery when spouses are self employed or not completely candid regarding their earnings. Other complexities arise when a party works below their capacity, refuses to seek employment or is co-habitating.
For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/