Will support be reduced when my ex retires at age 65?

Experienced Bay Area Family Law clients will tell their clients that retirement constitutes a change in circumstances. 

A supporting spouse's attainment of retirement age typically constitutes a material change of circumstances for purposes of a motion to modify a spousal support order, depending on the circumstances of a given case..

It has been found that there is no material change in circumstances occurred when the obligee became old enough to access a retirement fund without penalty, where the accessibility and possible increase in value of the obligee's share of the retirement accounts were part of the parties' expressed reasonable expectations in entering the stipulated judgment, the retirement accounts were divided equally between obligor and obligee, and by the time of the hearing the obligor was also old enough to access his account without penalty; since the marital settlement agreement, the obligee had become unable to work due to illness, and the obligor's income had increased. In re Marriage of Dietz, 176 Cal. App. 4th 387, 97 Cal. Rptr. 3d 616 (4th Dist. 2009), as modified, (Sept. 2, 2009)

I am disabled and on SSDI. Do I have to pay child support?

Experienced Bay Area family law attorneys will tell their clients who are on Social Security Disability Insurance, that they may have to pay child support.

If you are receiving benefits, your child will be entitled to receive your derivative benefits, and you may be required to pay additional child support on top of those benefits. 

Often, dependents of disabled adults qualifying for certain federal disability payments qualify for direct payments. These payments are paid to the custodial parent, even if the custodial parent is not the parent qualifying the child for the disability-related payment.

Fam C § 4504. provides for notification about benefits as well as how such payments are considered within the calculation of child support.

Here is Fam C § 4504: 

Fam C § 4504. (a) If the noncustodial parent is receiving payments from the federal government pursuant to the Social Security Act or Railroad Retirement Act, or from the Department of Veterans Affairs because of the retirement or disability of the noncustodial parent and the noncustodial parent notifies the custodial person, or notifies the local child support agency in a case being enforced by the local child support agency pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, then the custodial parent or other child support obligee shall contact the appropriate federal agency within 30 days of receiving notification that the noncustodial parent is receiving those payments to verify eligibility for each child to receive payments from the federal government because of the disability of the noncustodial parent. If the child is potentially eligible for those payments, the custodial parent or other child support obligee shall apply for and cooperate with the appropriate federal agency for the receipt of those benefits on behalf of each child. The noncustodial parent shall cooperate with the custodial parent or other child support obligee in making that application and shall provide any information necessary to complete the application.

(b) If the court has ordered a noncustodial parent to pay for the support of a child, payments for the support of the child made by the federal government pursuant to the Social Security Act or Railroad Retirement Act, or by the Department of Veterans Affairs because of the retirement or disability of the noncustodial parent and received by the custodial parent or other child support obligee shall be credited toward the amount ordered by the court to be paid by the noncustodial parent for support of the child unless the payments made by the federal government were taken into consideration by the court in determining the amount of support to be paid. Any payments shall be credited in the order set forth in Section 695.221 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(c) If the custodial parent or other child support obligee refuses to apply for those benefits or fails to cooperate with the appropriate federal agency in completing the application but the child or children otherwise are eligible to receive those benefits, the noncustodial parent shall be credited toward the amount ordered by the court to be paid for that month by the noncustodial parent for support of the child or children in the amount of payment that the child or children would have received that month had the custodial parent or other child support obligee completed an application for the benefits if the noncustodial parent provides evidence to the local child support agency indicating the amount the child or children would have received. The credit for those payments shall continue until the child or children would no longer be eligible for those benefits or the order for child support for the child or children is no longer in effect, whichever occurs first. [Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 305, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2005]

If you have questions about child support, please email me at amanda@gordonfamilylaw.com

My co-parent refuses to notify me about important events, what can I do?

Experienced Bay Area attorneys will tell their family law clients that when one parent refuses to notify the other parent about  important school events, medical appointments, extracurricular activities that you have to ask the Court for a specific order addressing the problem.

Here are some examples of what you can request:

(1) Order that requires the time frame for information to be given.  For example, within 48 hours of scheduling a routine medical appointment, notice must be provided to the other parent.  

(2) Order that requires weekly exchange of information or a shared google calendar. 

(3) Order that both parents be included on all school and medical communications. 

In the alternative, we like solutions such as Our Family Wizard and 2houses, which are programs that keep track of your Child’s schedule and other important information. These programs are online apps that can be accessed from your phone or computer. 

If you have questions about co-parenting plans, please email me at amanda@gordonfamilylaw.com

How do I enforce my court order that my ex pay my attorneys fees?

Experienced Bay Area family law attorneys will sometimes encounter a situation where although the other side has been ordered to pay fees, they simply refuse to do so.  

Typically, when the court makes an attorneys fee award, the court orders that payor spouse make the payment directly to the recipient spouse or the the recipient spouses’ attorney. Sometimes the payor does not have the money or does not want to pay. This is a violation of a court order and contempt of court. 

The remedy for failure to pay is not to file another family law motion, but instead to enforce the fee award through California Code of Civil Procedure (see Title 9, Enforcement of Judgments Section 680.010 and Section 1209 et sq. Relating to contempt of court). 

If you have questions about how to enforce a fee award, please email me at amanda@gordonfamilylaw.com