How will the court determine the money I will owe my ex wife? 4 Answers as of July 18, 2011

My soon to be ex wife earned approximately $11.00 more than me prior to the birth of our daughter. She has since shortened her working hours (we work at the same company) yet still makes .50 cents more than I do because of her new schedule. She is adamant about being a stay at home mom (which is her decision and I'm not faulting her.) My question is this, how will the courts factor in the difference when coming up with a amount for child support, (I haven't yet sought legal counself because I haven't been served anything and it has been a month since we physically separated + we're on semi-speaking terms email/texting etc) also, can they force her to go back to work full time?

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Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson
Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson | Margaret Wilson
In California Child and Spousal support is based upon a predetermined calculation. The State of California has a free Child Support Calculator that anyone can use to find out how much child support they should pay or how much they should receive. The rules regarding child support are clear. Each party has a duty to support their children. If a party voluntarily limits their work or quits work the court can impute income to them. When a court imputes income the court is basically stating that even though the party is not making money, for purposes of calculating child or spousal support, they are basically going to state they do make money which will lower or increase the child support payment.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/18/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Child support is based on your monthly income, your wife's monthly income, and your percentage of custodial timeshare. It is not based on how much you and your wife earn per hour. If you want the Court to impute income to your wife, you would need to be able to prove that she has both the ability and the opportunity to earn that income. A reported case that had facts similar to yours was in re Marriage of LaBass and Munsie, where the Court imputed full time income to a wife who chose to work only part time, but the husband had to prove that there were full time jobs available to the wife, for which the wife was qualified, along with the amount of pay that was available in those full time jobs, for the Court to impute full time income to your wife. In that case, the Court allowed the husband's use of classified ads to show that "offers to bargain existed" to overcome the wife's hearsay objections. Not all Courts will accept classified ads. You could file a Motion to have a Vocational Tranining Consultant perform a vocational examination of your wife; in such an examination, the expert interviews your wife, learns of her education, training and experience,contacts references of hers, and performs a labor market survey, to determine what jobs are available, at what rate of pay, for which your wife would be qualified. The testimony of a Vocational Traning Consultant at a hearing or trial is an effective way to persuade the Court to impute income to a party. Whereas a Court cannot force your wife to go back to work full time, if you are able to prove her ability and opportunity to earn full time (as addressed hereinabove), the Court can treat your wife for support purposes as though she is earning the income that the Court imputes to her.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/18/2011
Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
First thing you should note is that each party going through a divorce has the responsibility to be as gainfully employed as possible to support themselves as well as their children. "Stay at home mom" will not be a lifetime occupation. If the child(ren) are very young, then having mother in this parenting role for a period of time seems sensible. However, your ex should be planning on returning to the work force and developing vocational plan to do this. If she refused to work and the court determines she can and should, then the court could impute an earning capacity to her for determination of support.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/16/2011
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
The court will use as a guide the "Dissomaster" which factors in the income of both spouses, the ability to earn and the percentage of time both parents will have the children, among other factors. "You would be wise to meet with an experienced family law lawyer now and consult with them and they can run different dissomaster options so you have a good idea as to the child support you would be paying.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/16/2011
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