In California, courts will always favor the best interests of the children as part of deciding child custody between a divorcing couple. Once primary custody has been determined, the level of child support will need to be determined as well. Parents have a duty under state law to support their children, and the courts will generally decide what the level of child support should be based upon predetermined guidelines. While this can limit flexibility in child support levels, there are still many variables the court considers, meaning that you can benefit from our services as a child support attorneys. For example, courts will base support depending on the amount of money earned by each party, the number of hours a child is in the custody of each parent, tax status, childcare and healthcare costs and other expenses borne by each parent. When a child support case is opened, we’ll work with you to prepare your side of the story, and help you respond within the 30-day timeframe. We will also assist you with the hearing in front of a judge where you’ll have the opportunity to tell your side of the story and make a case for a level of support you think is appropriate.
Lowering my child support
After a divorce is finalized and the level of child support has been established, there are certain instances when that amount can be lowered. To be eligible for lower child support payments, a parent must show they have undergone a “change in circumstances” that would necessitate changing the child support order. Some of these examples may include loss of a job if one or both parents’ income has changed either up or down, the child’s needs have changed, or a parent was incarcerated. If you are going through any of these changes, or any other event that would impact your ability to pay child support, it’s best to contact us as soon as possible so that we can assist you with attempting to lower your child support amount.
Modifying child support
Sometimes, certain life events take place, and you need to find a way to increase the amount of child support you are receiving, especially if you are the custodial parent charged with primary care of your children. Most of the time, modifying child support should be worked out between two parents and then approved by the court. But sometimes, parents will disagree on how the modified amount should be handled and how much it should be. Our office can assist by mediating between both parents, attempting to reach an amount that makes sense and is acceptable. We may also be able to work with family court personnel on your behalf to come up with an amount that is fair as well. If both parents can agree on a new amount, then an agreement can be created and presented to the court where a child support order can be modified. However, in those instances where two parents can’t agree on an amount, it will be necessary to set a hearing in front of a judge who will listen to both sides of the argument. At that time, we can help you present your current situation, including supporting evidence such as your current income and expenses, child care costs, medical insurance, unemployment benefits and retirement income, as well as what your current custody and visitation rights and schedules are.
Spousal support attorney
Spousal support is more commonly known as alimony and is awarded to one spouse or the other when two people divorce from each other. Alimony is awarded to remedy the impacts of divorce on a spouse who may have been charged with staying at home to tend to domestic matters during a marriage, or who was a lower wage earning spouse. Unlike child support, which has clearly defined guidelines for setting levels, courts have broad discretion when it comes to determining alimony. This means that the services of a spousal support attorney can be valuable when attempting to determine an appropriate level of support. In addition to determining an amount, our office can also work toward seeking a maximum time frame for spousal support. Unlike child support, alimony is generally only awarded for as long as the court deems it necessary for the spouse in question to become fully self-supporting. In some cases, we can make the case that alimony payments should be open ended either due to a spouse’s age and employability or due to a medical condition or other related factors.
When changes happen in a former spouse’s life, that may open the door for alimony to be modified. Our office can assist with either a request to increase or decrease an alimony amount based on certain life events that may take place from time to time. For example, if a spouse gets remarried, loses a job, or suffers from a debilitating illness or permanent disability, this will impact their ability to pay a former spouse alimony at a previously agreed upon level. Because judges do have wide discretion when it comes to deciding alimony matters, our office can make sure the best possible arguments are presented for your side of the case. We can also make the case that after a certain period of time that alimony should be discontinued, especially when there is a significant life event that takes place, such as landing a high paying job or moving to a place where there is a much lower cost of living. To protect your interests as much as possible, contact us to discuss your situation, and together we can formulate the best action plan for your situation.
The Law Offices of Grossman & Mahan proudly serves Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Canoga Park, Sherman Oaks, West Hills, Encino and nearby California communities.