What are my rights in terms of alimony and child support after ending a 10 year marriage?

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What are my rights in terms of alimony and child support after ending a 10 year marriage?

My husband recently told me he wanted out of the marriage but is open to either not filing or seperation. When have been married for 10 years and have a child together. I currently am a stay at home mom. We live pay check to pay check. I would like to know what my rights are and what should be done no filing or seperation or divorce? How is the value determined?

Asked on June 15, 2012 under Family Law, California

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The ten year mark in California makes a big difference.  Marriages 10 years plus in length are considered "long term marriages" and any spousal support orders are usually indefinite, whereas marriages less than 10 years in length normally result in spousal support orders for 1/2 the length of the marriage. 

Whatever you choose to do, please at least file for separation.  Once you file for separation, any new debts created by your spouse will become his alone.  As of right now, you are still on the hook and liable for whatever he chooses to do. 

Spousal support is determined two different ways in CA.  When you initially file for a temporary order, the court uses a computer program to determine how much each spouse makes and figures out how much to give the supported spouse.  At trial for a permanent order, the court can consider more factors which are enumerated in CA Family Code 4320. 

Child support is strictly determined by a computer program and the court does not analyze factors as it does with spousal support.  The program takes into account the custody time of each parent and the incomes of both spouses. 

Child custody is determined according to the best interest of the child(ren).  Usually experts testify (including the mediator) as to their recommendation.  Marital assets and debts are usually spit 50/50, but spouses can do something else as long as it is fair. 

No matter what you do please file for sepapartion and consult an attorney.  Don't sign anything until you have an attorney read it. 

Good luck and if you are in or near Ventura County feel free to contact me.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Spousal support is not mandatory in California.  It is left up to the discretion of the Judge. The judge looks at 14 separate factors to determine if support is warranted. Parties can certainly agree to support.  Child support, on the other hand, is statutory, and considered the obligation of both parties.  Support is determined "in the manner suitable to the child's circumstances."  As for marital assets, they are split 50/50.  Please seek help.  Good luck. 


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