Support Stipulations

September 15, 2011

The Associate Press is reporting that Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt will keep paying $225,000 in temporary spousal support to his ex-wife, Jamie McCourt, over the next couple of months, but that money once used toward the mortgages of six luxurious homes will come from a $1.1 million escrow account funded by the sale of one of their other homes that was located near the Playboy Mansion.

When child and spousal support are at issue in a San Diego divorce, the issues can be resolved two way; either by agreement of the parties, or the court will make an order after having a hearing on the issue.

When parties reach a support agreement outside of a court hearing, either on their own or through their attorneys, the agreement is called a "Stipulation." To become effective, the terms of the Stipulation must be written down and filed with the court.

When an agreement regarding child support is reached, the written Stipulation that is filed with the court is required by the San Diego County Superior Court Rules to contain the following child support acknowledgments:

1. Each party is fully informed of their rights concerning child support;
2. The order is being agreed to without coercion or duress;
3. The agreement is in the best interests of the child involved;
4. The needs of the child will be adequately met by the stipulated amount of support; and
5. The right to support has not been assigned to the county pursuant to section 11477 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and no public assistance application is pending.

Further, in San Diego County, all written stipulations for the payment of child support must also include the following mandatory language:

"The parties declare all of the following:
1. They are fully informed of their rights concerning child support;
2. The order is being agreed to without coercion or duress;
3. The agreement is in the best interests of the children involved;
4. The needs of the children will be adequately met by the stipulated amount; and
5. The right to support has not been assigned to any county pursuant to section 11477 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and/or Family Code section 17404, and no public assistance application is pending."

In addition to the mandatory acknowledgements and language, the following forms are required to be included with all child support orders (which include Stipulations):

1. A Child Support Case Registry Form must be properly filled out and included with all child support orders issued or modified pursuant to Family Code section 4014; and
2. A Notice of Rights and Responsibilities must be attached to all orders and judgments which include provisions for child support pursuant to Family Code sections 4062 and 4063.

The experienced San Diego Family Law Attorneys at the Law Offices of Nancy J. Bickford are very familiar with all of the requirements of the California Family Code and the San Diego Country Superior Court Rules that must be followed whenever an agreement is reached to make sure the terms of the agreement are enforceable.

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In cases in which a stipulation cannot be reached, we will vigorously argue your case at a hearing or trial.

If you are considering a divorce, the most important first step is to consult with an experienced San Diego Family Law Attorney. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County, La Jolla or San Diego to schedule an appointment with Nancy J. Bickford.