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JerrySJD, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 821
Experience:  Divorce, child custody, support, mediation, alimony
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Hi, I left my husband 2 months ago with my 8.y. daughter. Im

Customer Question

Hi, I left my husband 2 months ago with my 8.y. daughter. I’m not thinking about divorce or separation at this moment because of the explosion to alimony to him. But I’m thinking about filing 100% custody with his visitations during the weekend. My situation is I’m a primary child’s caregiver, pay for her clothing, food, housing, take her and pick her up from school, pay for after school and camps/vacations. I have 85K income, good credit score and no criminal records.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  JerrySJD replied 5 years ago.

JerrySJD :

You are in the driver's seat. You do have alimony exposure, but should get custody hands down. Normal parenting plan is visitation every other weekend and one weekday night (not a sleepover). You would be primary and he would have visitation. When you see an opportunity to divorce (between jobs?), then you can go for it. Always better to go step by step. Then you preserve your options. One thing to remember, the longer you are married, the longer the alimony payout. Six month or a year will not make a huge difference, but 5 or 10 years will.

Customer :

We've been married for 16 years :-(

JerrySJD :

Alimony is an issue. You of course also have community property to deal with. Alimony is based on income and length of the marriage. If you make 85k and he makes 0, then you have exposure. With a 16 year marriage, you are looking at an 8-10 year payout. However, that can be modified over time. We have seen spouses go in after 3-4 years and get alimony reduced because the ex is not even trying to find a job, so the calculation is off. In that case, an income is imputed to the ex. He will have to pay child support, even if it is nominal at first. That will in essence offset your alimony somewhat.

JerrySJD :
  • Family court judges make a final determination on the amount of spousal support using California Family Code, Section 4320 as a guideline. According to California legislation, a number of factors require consideration. The length of the marriage and the health and age of the partners are some of the primary considerations. A judge also reviews income, assets, debts and tax impact. If one spouse supported the other through educational endeavors, that becomes a factor. Unemployment periods for a spouse who performed the child care responsibilities is another issue that weighs into finalizing support payments.

Taxation Considerations

  • Spousal support and payments to domestic partners are determined according to the same guidelines. The difference lies in taxation. The spouse who pays out the alimony is entitled to a tax deduction. Spousal support is included as income to the receiving partner. State and federal tax laws are silent on domestic partnership support.

Read more: How Is Alimony Determined in California? |
JerrySJD :

The tax effect will help you. At least you get a write off. Plus, you may be able to argue that you have done other things for him that can be an offset, like paying for training and education.

JerrySJD :

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