First of all, Child Support is based on the policy that both parents must financially support their offspring even in the event that the child does not currently live with both parents. Child support refers to the financial support of children and not other forms of support, such as emotional support, physical care, or spiritual support. Furthermore, as discussed below, spousal support is also a distinctive payment.
When children live with both parents courts will have a “hands off” policy when it comes to instructing parents as to how to financially support their children. However, when the parents are not together, their are often disputes as to how much each parent deserves and needs to support the child. Consequently, courts often order one parent to pay the other an amount set as financial support of the child. In such situations, one parent, which is the obligee, receives child support, and the other parent, referred to as the obligor, is ordered to pay child support. The amount of child support may be set on a case-by-case basis or by a formula estimating the amount thought that parents should pay to financially support their children.
Child support may be ordered to be paid by one parent to another when one is a non-custodial parent and the other is a custodial parent or may be ordered to be paid when both parents split parental duties. In some cases, a parent with sole custody of his or her children may even be ordered to pay child support to the non-custodial parent to support the children while they are in the care of that parent.
In California, as with most jurisdictions, there is no need for the parents to be married, and only a positive paternity determination need to be demonstrated for a child support obligation to be found by a competent court.
Next, Spousal Support (aka. alimony) is in no way connected to chid support. The concept of modern alimony in the US derives from old English Courts which awarded alimony in cases of separation and divorce. The term alimony comes from the Latin word alimonia, and was a rule of sustenance to assure the wife’s lodging, food, clothing, and other necessities after divorce.
Divorce began in the 19th century but was only possible in cases of marital misconduct. As a result, the requirement to pay alimony became linked to the concept of fault in the divorce. Alimony to wives was paid because it was assumed that the marriage, and the wife’s right to support, would have continued but for the misbehavior of husband. Ending alimony on divorce would have permitted a guilty husband to profit from his own misconduct. In contrast, if the wife committed the misconduct, she was considered to have forfeited any claim to ongoing support. However, during these times alimony could rarely be afforded and was, thus, not very often awarded. As men’s incomes increased, and with it the possibility of paying alimony, the awarding of alimony increased, generally because a wife could show a need for ongoing financial support and the husband had the ability to pay. No-fault divorce led to changes in alimony. Whereas spousal support was considered a right under the fault-based system, it became conditional under the no-fault approach. Today, New York is the only state that has not adopted no-fault divorce law.
In order to keep up with the trends in both sexes becoming independant, in the 1970s theUnited States Supreme Court ruled against gender bias in alimony awards, and the percentage of alimony recipients who are male rose to 3.6% in 2006.In states like Massachusetts and Louisiana, the salaries of new spouses may be used in determining the alimony paid to the previous partners. Most recently, in several high profile divorces women such as Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson have paid multi-million dollar settlements in lieu of alimony to ex-husbands who were independently wealthy. According to lawyers, men are becoming more aggressive in the pursuit of alimony awards as the stigma associated with asking for alimony fades and a chance to “get back” at a spouse is more common for men, as well. For a good step-by-step guide on filing these forms on your own, there is a cheap and easy way to do this for under $10 at http://www.formsdivorce.com