Irvine Spousal Support Lawyers
Establishment & Enforcement of Spousal & Child Support Orders in San Diego County & LA County
For most couples facing a divorce, the financial issues of their dissolution are some of the most important aspects of their case. A divorce can result in serious financial upheaval in your life, and no one wants to have to deal with a lessened quality of life for themselves or their children due to changes in income. This is where court-mandated support comes into play.
When it comes to spousal support (also known as alimony), most divorcing couples do not know where to start. Every person’s situation is different, and California divorce courts look at a number of factors when deciding whether or not to establish permanent spousal support and how the amount of support is calculated.
Ensuring you receive an amount of spousal support from your spouse that allows you to effectively maintain the standard of living that was established during your marriage can be a difficult and daunting prospect. Our firm is dedicated to helping couples calculate an equitable level of spousal support that is fair for all parties. We will also serve as advocates who will fight to help make sure you receive the proper amount of support and help ensure that the court’s support order is carried out.
The approximate cost of raising a child to age 18 is in the hundreds of thousands, and it can be incredibly difficult to raise a child on one income alone. Most divorcing couples with children will need to establish a plan for child support that ensures their children are always taken care of financially. In California, divorce courts will account for both parents’ incomes, as well as the amount of time each parent spends with the children each year, when establishing child support and calculating the amount of support that should be paid each month.
Kids are always the most impacted when a divorce occurs, and our firm is committed to fighting for the financial wellbeing of your children. We will do whatever it takes protect the best interests of your children and make sure that a fair amount of child support is paid in order to provide for them.
To learn more about spousal and child support, or for help in calculating or enforcing support orders, please contact us.
Enforcement of Support Orders
There are various tools available to enforce a child or spousal support order.
The most frequently used are:
Wage Assignment Order
Up to a few years back, parties had to show a history of non-payment or late payments before the court would order a wage assignment. Under current California law, the court must issue a wage assignment order whenever the court makes or modifies a support order. Once a wage assignment order is granted by the court, it is sent directly to the payor spouses’ employer, who will deduct the amount of support from the payor spouses’ salary and send it directly to the receiving spouse.
Writ of Execution
This tool is most effective when large sums of back support are owed and when the payor spouse has bank accounts or property. The spouse owed the back support can petition the court for an order that the assets be seized and liquefied to satisfy the back support.
Child or Spousal Support Security Account
When the payor spouse is self-employed or frequently changing jobs, it becomes very difficult to enforce support via a wage assignment order. In such cases, the court can order the payor spouse to establish a support security account containing one years’ worth of support placed in an interest-bearing account. This account acts as a safety-net for times when the payor is late or does not pay at all.
Contempt is a quasi-criminal action with a very high burden of proof on the moving party. A party who does not comply with the order, even though they had knowledge of the order and the ability to comply, can be held in contempt. If a party is held in contempt, they are sentenced to jail time and fined.
If you find yourself in a position where your ex-spouse is making late payments time and time again, have a conversation with them if possible. In some cases, the remedy might be fairly simple and can save you time, emotional turmoil, and attorney’s fees.
One of our clients found that her ex-husband, who was a good father in other ways, constantly paid late. When she spoke to him, she found out that the start-up company he worked for paid him on the fifth and the twentieth of the month. This made it hard for him to comply with the order which required him to pay on the first and fifteenth of the month. Rather than using any of the tools mentioned above, she chose to empower herself by simply adjusting her financial plans, so his payment schedule worked for her.
Another one of our clients was constantly getting nasty little letters in the mail along with her spousal support checks. In that case we worked with opposing counsel to set up a voluntary electronic funds transfer. This simple, cost-effective procedure did much to reduce contact and unnecessary fiction between the parties.
The tools outlined above are extremely powerful. Before utilizing them, it is always a good idea to see how you can empower yourself. In cases where we are certain the payor spouse will be paying late, we always request a wage assignment order.
Should you have any questions regarding enforcement of orders, please call us at (949) 353-6151 for a free consultation.
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