In family law we spend a good deal of time talking about court orders. There are orders for child support, orders for spousal support, custody orders, and orders for the payment of attorney fees. Getting more specific, all of the aforementioned orders can either be interim orders (also called temporary orders) or they can be final orders. The point of this blog is to discuss court orders in a family law context and to provide some basic understanding of how, why, and when they are made. This is only a basic discussion of orders, a topic that can be very complex. For this reason, you should speak with a qualified family law attorney about your specific case so you can be certain you fully understand your rights. Continue reading
You probably didn’t need to come to this web site to know that California has laws compelling parents to financially support their children. The reasons for this are obvious. When parents make the decision to procreate, they are financially responsible for that decision. I think we can all agree that the taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill to support a child when one or both of that child’s parents can do so themselves. It should be no surprise then, that Family Code section 4053 holds that “a parent’s first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children acceding to the parent’s circumstances and station in life” and that the “financial needs of the children should be met through private financial resources as much as possible.”
Did you know, however, that there is such thing as “parent support” in California too?
It was recently reported that actor Jeremy Renner (best known for his lead in 2008’s The Hurt Locker and as Hawkeye in the Avengers movies) is refusing to pay his half of their daughter Ava’s preschool tuition. Jeremy’s ex-wife, Sonnie Pacheco claims that she has asked for Jeremy to pay half of the $1,600 monthly tuition, but he has refused. She also claims he has fallen behind on his child support payments to the tune of $48,367. Now I have to admit I have never read Jeremy’s court orders, but I have a really good guess what order is he running afoul of.
In California, it is mandatory for the Court, when making child support orders, to allocate the costs related to the children’s uninsured medical expenses (e.g. co-pays, deductibles) and for the cost of child care so that a parent can work or go to school/training. These are referred to as “mandatory add-ons” since the court is required to make them part of all child support orders. Typically the cost of these expenses is split equally between the parents, but the court has discretion to allocate the cost however is most appropriate in light of the parties income and expenses. So for example in Jeremy’s case above, if the court ordered that Jeremy and Sonnie were to split the cost of their daughter’s pre-school, then Jeremy would owe half of the $1,600 tuition or $800 each month.
One of the first issues a new client will ask us about is support. Whether it is child support, spousal support, or both, support is one of the most important issues in your family law case. It’s easy to understand why. During your marriage income and expenses are shared and over time you find a happy medium between the amount of money you have coming in and the amount of money you have going out to pay expenses. After you separate, the income doesn’t change, but the expenses will often double. That means two rent payments, two food bills, two utility payments…the list goes on. If you and your spouse were just making ends meet before the separation, odds are it will be twice as difficult now that expenses have increased. Continue reading
Can a judgment establishing paternity be set aside?
Under California Family Code Section 7646, if there has already been a judgment establishing paternity and the parents later find out dad is not really the biological father, the judgment can be set aside. Continue reading
When I talk to clients about what constitutes income available to pay for child support I ask them to imagine an umbrella…a very BIG umbrella. Everything underneath that umbrella is income available to pay child support. In California, this has been codified in Family Code Section 4058, which states;
“The annual gross income of each parent means income from whatever source derived…and includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Income such as commissions, salaries, royalties, wages, bonuses, rents, dividends, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, social security benefits, and spousal support actually received from a person not a party to the proceeding to establish a child support order under this article.”
I emphasized “social security benefits” because that is the theme of this blog. Continue reading
We are divorce attorneys, not tax experts, but marriage and finances are so intertwined that inevitably divorce and taxes do intersect. Each year as the IRS tax return filing deadline approaches, we are increasingly confronted by our clients with tax preparation questions. For specific tax inquiries, we advise that you consult a tax professional. However, we felt it may be useful to share a brief (non-exhaustive) list of some common points Continue reading
California has one of the most complicated child support laws of any state. Sometimes, the complications don’t end once you have an order: a parent sometimes has to deal with the other parent not paying the Court ordered child support. Here are 5 helpful tips Continue reading
According to section 215 of the Internal Revenue Code, spousal support (otherwise known as alimony) is generally taxable income to the payee and tax deductible to the payor. However, if payors aren’t careful, they may inadvertently agree to support arrangements that are not deductible.
In California, the Court has discretion, and often exercises this discretion, to award spousal support retroactively to the date of filing. For instance, if a spouse files a spousal support motion on January 1, 2016, but it is not heard until March 1, 2016, the Court can still order the payor to pay for the months of January and February even though the hearing wasn’t until March.
This past holiday season I noticed a lot of commercials pandering to the coffee aficionado in all of us. Everything from the new Keurig to the admittedly hilarious George Clooney and Danny Devito commercials for Nescafé. Personally I love coffee; all kinds of coffee. So the idea of creating new caffeinated concoctions in my kitchen is very appealing. But that is where the interest stops. I have no desire to schlep lattes for a living no matter how much free coffee they offer. Having said that, I am fairly confident I am qualified for the job of barista, and I am pretty confident everyone reading this is as well. It really cannot be that hard, save for spelling the names of course.