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My husband is asking for spousal support to offset his child support obligation. Is this legit?

Irvine, CA |

Though I'm not asking for it, my spouse is refusing to pay any child support money for 20% of custody he has. To ensure he would not accumulate arrears, he is asking for spousal support from me to offset his obligation as long as possible since my income is slightly higher. He works full-time and earns over 150K. I do not think the court would award him with spousal support based on lack of needs, but I would want to settle out of court due to other reasons. What are the merits and risks of privately settling for spousal support for the above reason? Can spousal support be spelled specific to offset child support if settled privately? I understand spousal support has tax-benefit to the payer but then why support spouse who left me and the child behind?

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Attorney answers 4


No upside. with that income he is not going to get it. hold out.


If he is making close to the amount you are, he is not likely to get support. An attorney could run a Dissomaster calculation and give you a more definitive answer. My office offers free initial consultations if you would like to discuss this matter further. My initial reaction based on what you say you make, that he makes close to the same, and has only 20% visitation, is that his offer is not fair to child. As i have heard judges say, "It is the child's money, not the parent's to bargain away." Whether you need the money to survive is irrelevant. He is supposed to support his child and help you with expenses since you have the child most of the time. You can always save it for college! For further information, visit

Since legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.


Spousal support and child support are two different animals. If an order for him to pay has been entered, then he is in arrears on the support and the arrearages are accumulating interest. If both of your earnings are similar, even if you earn slightly more, then there is a case to made that he is not due any spousal support. But, ask the court to consider all factors of Fam Law Code Section 4320 on the award of spousal support, even if temporary. Leaving you isn't a factor that is relevant to the issue of spousal support. Yes, if the two of you agree that spousal support can be used to offset against child support, you can do this privately but because you will have arrived at a child support number that is probably below guideline support, you will probably need to justify the lower number to the court as the court has discretion to accept or reject your lower than guideline child support number. Please seek an attorney to get this straightened out.


One sentence in your post caught my immediate attention. "I would want to settle out of court due to other reasons." I would say nothing more publicly about your particular situation until you have had an opportunity to sit down with an experienced family law attorney to discuss these "other reasons."