An important case has recently been handed down by California’s appellate courts that stated that the trial court in a family law matter did not err by basing its support orders on Wife’s 80% work schedule where that percentage constituted objectively reasonable work regimen and was in Child’s best interests.  The facts of In re Marriage of Lim and Carrasco are as follows:

The couple was married in 2003, and later they had two children.  During the marriage, Husband was a college professor and Wife was a partner in a law firm.  They separated in 2011 and Husband filed for divorce later that year.  Husband dismissed his petition three (3) days later, and they attempted to reconcile.  Having failed their reconciliation, one month later Wife filed for divorce.

Husband filed an ex parte request seeking custody of the children, child support, visitation, and temporary spousal support.  In his supporting declaration, Husband stated that his flexible work schedule allowed him more time to care for the two children, while Wife’s burden of billable hours required her to work longer hours.

In her responsive declaration, Wife agreed to pay guideline child support based on her recently adopted 80% work schedule.  At the conclusion of the hearing, the family law trial court found that Wife’s reduced working schedule would still involve “working a substantial amount of the time” and that the 80% schedule would be in the children’s best interests.

Accordingly, the trial court determined that child support should be based on Wife’s actual income under that schedule.  In findings and order after hearing, the trial court further found that child support and spousal support should be calculated per Wife’s reduced schedule income.  Husband claimed the trial court should have calculated support based on Wife’s full-time earning capacity and erred by deviating from the guideline, and he appealed.  But CA-6 affirmed the trial court’s decision.

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