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In California, family support is broken down into two basic categories, child support and spousal support.

Child support is calculated under a formula called guideline support. It is mandated by legislation so as to eliminate inconsistencies in the methods used to determine the needs of the supported children, and to promote fairness when ordering child support. The basic information needed to calculate child support is gross income of both parents, percentage of shared custody, number of minor children from other relationships, and any extra expenses related to the supported children that are allowable deductions under the guideline formula. Once this information is accurately determined, the mandated formula will calculate the amount to be ordered payable by the obligor parent.  This formula must be followed unless  the parties agree to an amount sufficient to support the children or there are extraordinary factors that make the guideline formula unfair.

Spousal support may also be determined by the guideline formula. However, the Courts have more discretion to deviate from the guideline formula when the circumstances dictate. And, unlike child support, spousal support is based on the needs of the supported spouse, whereas child support may exceed the financial needs of the supported child.

Estelle & Kennedy, A Professional Law Corporation, is very adept at insuring the accuracy of the guideline formula to the extent that the support award will benefit the client interest on either side of the argument. In addition, when beneficial to the client, Estelle & Kennedy, A Professional Law Corporation, will seek an award that deviates (up or down depending on the client) from guideline support. Estelle & Kennedy, A Professional Law Corporation, represents custodial and non-custodial parents.