Are you considering obtaining a California family support order in your divorce? Opting for a family support order may be in your best financial interest if you or your spouse are paying or receiving both child and spousal support.
What is a California Family Support Order?
A California family support order consists of child support and spousal support. In other words, a family support order combines child and spousal support into one payment. The court makes no distinction between the two payments. Further, the court will not issue a separate order for child or spousal support if they grant a family support order.
Calculating California Family Support Orders
The amount of family support a parent will receive or pay depends on the amount ordered for child and spousal support. California law requires courts to follow statewide guidelines when establishing support orders; however, both parents can always reach their own agreement. That said, when setting a family support order, the agreed upon amount must be more than the standard California guidelines.
One hundred percent of payments made under a California family support order are potentially deductible by the payee. Furthermore, payments made under this order are also reportable as taxable income by the recipient because they are unallocated awards of support. In other words, there is no designated amount of family support specifically attributable to child support.
In order for family support to be tax deductible, it must not be disguised as child support. Therefore, spouses cannot tie the payment of family support to any child-related event. For example, payment terminating when a child reaches the age of 18 would be considered child support.
Child support is tax-free income for the recipient for federal income tax purposes. Therefore, neither the receiving party nor the child is required to pay income taxes on the amount received. On the other hand, the party paying the support cannot deduct these child support payments on their tax returns. In other words, child support payments are not tax deductible by the payee under state or federal law.
Spousal support payments are tax deductible by the payee under state and federal law. Additionally, these payments are considered taxable income for the recipient.
Drawing Conclusions: Tax Benefits of Family Support vs. Child and Spousal Support
While the parent receiving family support must claim support payments as income, if their income is low, they may not necessarily have a negative impact on their end-of-year tax liability. Often, this tax break is enough incentive for the parties to negotiate a family support order instead of spousal and child support.
Further, since child support is not tax deductible, the paying parent may also benefit from paying a family support order because of the income tax benefits. Unlike child support, the paying parent may deduct the total amount of family support for income tax purposes. This break is highly beneficial for a spouse paying both spousal and child support. In fact, a paying spouse can save thousands of dollars in income tax by combining child and spousal support in a California family support order.
A People’s Choice Helps With Family Support Orders
A People’s Choice has been providing document preparation services for family law and other types of cases for over 40 years. Plus, we can create a California guideline report based on the income of both parties to predict child, spousal, and family support orders. This report will help you make an educated decision about how you will structure your California family support order.
Is there a family code section or other statute the precludes the CA family court from issuing seperate orders for child support and spousal support and an additional order for family support to be paid in the amount of a percentage above the payors net income even after child support and spousal support is allready deducted from income and payed on a wage assignment. I was ordered all three. After paying child, spousal and family support for 12 years the child supportr was terminated by the court. I also stopped paying the additional support, designated as family support by the court at the time. My X and I agreed at time of divorce that I would pay 31% of any net income above @ $2,900.00 per month as additional support “Family” so that we didnot have to go back and forth to court every time I recieved a raise or worked overtime. We agreed to this as a supplement to the child support. I also agreed that I would not attempt to reduce child support untill the childr support terminated. Now that we are going to court after 21 years to terminate the allimoney of $81.00 per month, that I have continued to pay, she is pettitioning the court to collect @ 12 years of the 31% of income I recieved above 2, 900.00 per monts because the CFC defination of family support includes both child and spousal support at unspecified amounts of each. If she prevails it would be over $200,000.00 from which I could not posxsibly recover, I would definately loose every thing me and my current spouse of 20 yaers have built together. My children are all 29 yaers old and older. I believe the court made a procedural error or acted illegally in labeling the extra that I agreed to pay as additional child support as “Family”. I am now retired and collect a pension from the state of CA. Please help!!!!
You would either have a family support order or separate child and/or spousal support orders. You typically would NOT have a family support order AND a child or spousal support order.
Although we are not attorneys, I would be quite surprised if a court allows a former spouse to go back 21 years. I would recommend you get professional help for your formal response from a service such as ours to clearly explain your side of the case to the court.