Child Support & Spousal Support – What a judge considers! – DivorceRx


Divorce Rx with  Sonia Queralt
As you think about your divorce, are you wondering what you are entitled to, or how the process works?   On this weeks DivorceRx, our very special guest, and former divorce attorney Sonia Queralt and I discuss the actual process of spousal support and child support.  Here are some take aways;
Child Support—each state has it’s own statutory guidelines that the judge uses to determine the amount of monthly child support based on the parents respective incomes and expenses, paid by the non-custodial parent…so….What is child support?  It’s, money paid by the non custodial parent to provide for the children of the marriage.The rationale behind child support is that a parent is responsible for their children even if the children do not live with them.


Who receives child support?  It’s the custodial parent in a sole physical custody situation. In the case of joint custody,  the court will consider the child support obligation based on how much money each parent earns and the percentage of time that the child spends with each parent. (the non-custodial parent pays the child support)

What are some factors used to calculate child support?  The needs of the child (including but not limited to health insurance, education, daycare and special needs), the income and needs of the custodial parent,and the paying parents ability to pay (courts will look at the payer’s gross income from ALL sources, less any mandatory deductions such as social security, health care)—the expenses of the paying spouse are irrelevant.  In case you are wondering, the judge can examine a parent’s ability to earn as well as what the parent is actually earning. Case in point; assume a parent with an obligation to pay child support does one of the following:

  1. Leaves a current job and enrolls in medical/law school
  2. Takes a job with lower pay but good potential for higher pay in the future
    1. Court may base the child support award on the income from the original job (ability to earn) rather than on the new income level (ability to pay)
  3. The child’s standard of living before divorce or separation (courts want to continue the same standard of living for the children if possible)
    1. Importance of parents filling out a financial statement to provide a complete picture of the parents financial situation before making a decision on child support

How can I modify my child support? The standard is a substantial change in circumstance for either party warranting a recalculation of a child support order.  Typical changes that can result in temporary or permanent modifications to a child support order include:

  1. Receipt of additional income
  2. Job change of either parent
  3. Cost of living increases
  4. Disability incurred by either parent
  5. Increased needs of the child
    1. Child has a medical emergency

How does child support get paid and what are the advantages/disadvantages?  There are several ways

  1. Wage garnishment
  2. Direct deposit into account, checks, money orders
  • Department of Revenue or equivalent (child support enforcement offices)

What if I can’t afford to pay child support?  There’s a good chance that the minimum child support may be set.

What if someone doesn’t pay their child support?  There are SUBSTANTIAL CONSEQUENCES FOR NOT PAYING YOUR CHILD SUPPORT!  You can have your driver’s license revoked, you can have your professional license revoked, AND you can go to prison!  Lesson here?  PAY YOUR CHILD SUPPORT!

Alimony—courts have broad discretion in determining whether to award alimony, for how long, and for how much. So, what is alimony?  Alimony is the payment that is made by one spouse to another during the pendency of and/or after a divorce. The purpose of alimony is to mitigate any unfair effect of divorce on the lower-earning spouse.  The earning capacity of the dependent spouse plays a significant role in the amount of alimony set and can affect alimony both negatively and positively.

Are there different types of alimony?  Yes!  There are a few, and you should know them;

  1. Rehabilitative alimony—alimony that is paid for a specific period of time
    1. Purpose—applies when the recipient has the capacity to become self-sufficient but requires support while making the adjustment
  2. Reimbursement alimony—includes situations where one party made significant contributions to the other party’s overall earning potential
  3. Permanent alimony—awarded in long term marriages where there is a significant difference in earning capacity between the parties.
    1. Purpose—dependent spouse exhibits an inability to earn the sufficient income needed to live comparably to the marital lifestyle

4. Limited alimony—awarded for a limited period of time

What statutory factors are used to calculate alimony? Alimony will be determined differently according to each state’s laws.  Here are some contributing factors in determining alimony;

  1. Contributions of each spouse to the marriage both financially and non-financially
  2. Length of the marriage
  3. Income of each spouse and future earning potential
  4. Age and health of each spouse
  5. The standard of living during the marriage
  6. Whether one spouse’s career was affected by raising children
  7. The assets and debts of each party following the divorce
  8. Domestic violence
  9. Tax implications of alimony


What if I cannot pay my alimony obligation?  A substantial change in your circumstance may warrant a modification (depends on the statute).

Will I have to pay my spouse alimony AND child support?  In some cases, yes!



About Sonia

Attorney Sonia Queralt is the founder of Divorceify, a multi-disciplinary concierge service that provides customized coaching, strong support, resources and organization to those who feel overwhelmed by the logistics and shock of the divorce process.

Divorceify’s mission is to empower people navigating through a divorce.  The goal is to maximize results and prepare clients to emerge and succeed in their new life.  Whether the goal is to obtain custody, receive alimony, or achieve other specific goals, Divorceify helps clients achieve their goals.

If you have questions, you can join our membership and log into our very private Facebook group and ask any of our experts for their advice and counsel about the divorce process and even for healing and moving on.  Join us today by clicking here:  Membership Registration

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Vicky Townsend is the proud mother of two amazing children, Kristen and Connor, and mother to two incredibly cute, and yet completely ill mannered dauschunds, Alfalfa and Froggy. Vicky is president and CEO of Inspiration University. Through Inspiration University, Vicky is able to help thousands of women across South Florida, grow their businesses, and increase their bottom line profitability. Vicky’s events inspire, motivate and inform women entrepreneurs to be their best and create the life they want. After a series of painful divorces, Vicky’s passion and purpose let her to her newest venture “The Café’ D”, an on line respite site for those that find themselves going through the pain of divorce, providing them with referrals, resources and emotional support at a most difficult time in their lives. She’s also created “National Association of Divorce Professionals”, which connects those in the industry with one another and helps them expand their referral base amongst industry professionals.