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Question: How Can I Calculate Family Support?
Answer: "Family Support" is a calculation that is popular in California.
It follows a California statute that allows people to designate payments from one spouse to another as "Family Support," meaning an undifferentiated combination of child and spousal support.
The hope is that this all will be taxed as spousal support, but that may not happen. There are IRS rules that provide that payments will be treated as child support if they cease within a year of a signifcant date in a child's life.
However, if you wish to figure out how much Family Support you need in order to result in the same after-tax cash as the regularly-calculated child support and spousal support amounts, you can do it very quickly in Family Law Software. (After-tax cash means gross income after taxes, but before most other expenses.)
Here is what you would do:
1. Set "actual" child and spousal support to be what you wish (e.g., the system-calculated amounts).
2. On the Projected After-Tax Cash Flow report, see what the recipient's After-Tax Cash is for the first year.
3. Go to the Negotiate tab > Alimony Needed screen, and enter this amount as target #4, Target $/Year of After-Tax Cash. Also, check the box to use "unallocated" spousal support (this is the same thing as "Family Support.")
The alimony amount calculated on the Alimony Needed screen will be the "Family Support" amount.