Children Issues FAQs


My ex-wife and our two kids have moved in with her boyfriend. Do I still have to pay alimony and child support?

If there is a court order in place re: child and spousal support, the order must be followed until it is either modified by written agreement (i.e., via a Stipulation and Order signed by the parties and filed with the Court), or by Court order in a judicial proceeding. The act of an ex-spouse living with a significant other has no real impact on the payment of child support. However, with respect to spousal support, Family Code Section 4323 sets forth that “…there is a rebuttable presumption, affecting the burden of proof, of decreased need for spousal support if the supported party is cohabitating with a non-marital partner. Upon a determination that circumstances have changed, the court may modify or terminate the spousal support…”). The mere fact that a former spouse is living with a significant other does not, in and of itself, dictate that spousal support will be modified lower or terminated but does mean that, upon application of the supporting party and sufficient proof of said cohabitation, the burden shifts to the supported spouse to rebut the presumption of reduced need.

Can child support be increased or reduced if our circumstances change?

Child support is modifiable until such time that the obligation to pay child support is extinguished. Child support can be increased or decreased upon a showing that a change of circumstances has occurred since the entry of the governing order. For example, a loss of the employment position upon which the child support order is fashioned would likely lead, at least for a short period of time, to a significant reduction in the child support order (so that the payor can reasonably find gainful employment and a new child support order can then commence).

Can child support include an annual increase for inflation?

Typically no. The guideline child support calculation is based on each party’s respective income and custodial timeshare percentage (i.e., the time each parent is designated as the child’s custodian pursuant to the terms of the custody and visitation order).

Can child support be increased or reduced if our circumstances change?

Child support is modifiable until such time that the obligation to pay child support is extinguished. Child support can be increased or decreased upon a showing that a change of circumstances has occurred since the entry of the governing order. For example, a loss of the employment position upon which the child support order is fashioned would likely lead, at least for a short period of time, to a significant reduction in the child support order (so that the payor can reasonably find gainful employment and a new child support order can then commence).

Can child support include an annual increase for inflation?

Typically no. The guideline child support calculation is based on each party’s respective income and custodial timeshare percentage (i.e., the time each parent is designated as the child’s custodian pursuant to the terms of the custody and visitation order).

What is the Difference Between “Legal” and “Physical” Child Custody?

Legal custody is the right to make decisions about a minor child’s health, safety, education, religion, welfare, etc. Physical custody is the actual time a parent spends exercising custody and control over a minor child.

Can my spouse move away with our children?

It is possible to move outside the county or even the state with children if permission is granted from the other spouse or a court Order is obtained.

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