At Dianne Drew Butler & Associates, Inc., our experienced attorneys work diligently to achieve your goals, both inside and outside the courtroom.
From our office in Stockton, we work with clients throughout Silicon Valley and the Central Valley with child support or spousal support needs. Having practiced in our area for more than 30 years, we have the experience to keep your case moving forward toward resolution.
Calculating Child Support
California is a guideline, formula-based state for determining child support payments. We use a court-approved computer program called Dissomaster to calculate the applicable support amount for your children. We are familiar with both the inputs and the outputs of this program and can help you understand how California is determining the amount of child support you are owed or how much you must pay.
There are multiple factors that can influence the final determination of an amount of child support. These include:
- Tax filing status of both parents
- The amount of time each parent has with the children
- The number of tax exemptions and which parent will claim the children or which children on their taxes
- Amount of health insurance paid by both parties
- Deductible interest income
- Who is paying the property taxes on the home the children are living in
- Necessary expenses for work
- Contributions to mandatory retirement programs
Each parent has an obligation to support their child(ren) until he or she turns 18 and has graduated from high school. Working with an attorney during the initial calculation process and any subsequent modifications can take the confusion and stress out of a process that is intended to secure the well-being of your children.
Determining Spousal Support
We also use Dissomaster to calculate spousal support. Unlike child support, the figure determined by the program is only a suggestion, rather than a mandatory amount. Spousal support can be either temporary or permanent. The court must review several family code factors when setting a spousal support amount; these factors include:
- Earning capacity of each party
- Marketable skills of both parties
- Level and amount of education of each party
- Whether one spouse contributed financially or otherwise to the other’s education
- Ability to pay, including earned and unearned income
- Duration of the marriage
- Age and health of the parties
- Potential domestic violence
- Tax consequences
California’s goal is for the parties to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. It is our goal to get you what you need to get on your feet.
Modifying Support Orders
If you experience an event that changes your circumstances — job loss, health reasons or other reason — then you must act immediately. Child support modifications are possible, but are not retroactive. This means that even though you may not be able to pay a court-ordered support amount, you will still be obligated to do so until your petition for modification is filed with the court. This can be a tricky area of the child support process.