Even though child support and spousal support are two separate types of payments, it almost always happens that child support affects spousal support and vice versa.
When a marriage or domestic partnership dissolves and a child or children are involved, California family codes always focus on what is in the best interests of the child.
Child Support Almost Always Affects Spousal Support
As a continual succession of payments to a recipient spouse over a specified period, alimony payments can be used at the discretion of the ex-spouse. The amount of spousal support is determined according to the length of the marriage, the amount of domestic responsibility, any financial burden that benefitted the spouse, and the health of the individuals.
Child support payments can only be used for the care of the child. At the same time, children must be cared for “in a manner suitable to the child’s circumstances”. Alimony payments may help to maintain this standard of living.
How Child Support Affects Spousal Support for The Person Paying Child Support
The amount of alimony reduces in cases where both child support and spousal support payments are awarded. This is because the formula calculates the amount of child support first and considers it a deduction from the payor’s income. Only then is the spousal support amount worked out according to what is left.
Is Alimony Enforcement Like Child Support Enforcement?
Generally, because the child’s wellbeing is the top priority of the courts, enforcing child support orders takes preference over the enforcement of spousal support orders. However, if your former spouse has the means to pay, California family law provides enforcement through:
- A wage garnishment that must be implemented within ten days of receipt. This is also known as an earning assignment because it applies to all sources of income, including self-employment.
- Unless child support obligations are included, income such as Social Security or Disability grants are typically exempt from a garnishment order.
- Contempt of court also applies. Often the threat of possible jail time is an effective approach to ensure timely payments.
Note that under California law, spousal support is only enforceable when a judgement has been entered by the court.
At Westover Law Group, you have access to courtroom-savvy, caring, experienced family law attorneys. Don’t wait to get help with your case. Find out more about how child support affects spousal support by scheduling a complimentary consultation with our award-winning legal team. Call our offices (951) 643-0085 or contact us online.