How Temporary Spousal-Support and Child-Support Agreements Can Have Long-Term Effects


Whether you plan to draft a temporary support agreement with or without court involvement, certain agreements can have a lasting effect. That’s why it’s crucial you seek advice from an experienced attorney before committing to, or failing to commit to, any agreements.

Failing to Commit to an Agreement

Sometimes people think that the longer they can go without providing support, the fewer months they will be responsible for paying. However, the alternative may be true. Courts will almost always order the supporting spouse to pay back charges (“arrears”) for months where no support was provided if the supported party had already filed in court requesting the support. If the court finds the supportive spouse acted maliciously, they may even be inclined to order back-pay and future monthly support payments at a higher rate. Not only could you be responsible for back-pay but now you will be forced to pay a lump sum as opposed to having the payments spread out. On the contrary, if the spouse who needs support has not filed in court requesting it, the longer they go without it may indicate to the court that they do not need support!

Long-Term Effects of Agreeing to Too Little or Too Much

In the alternative, agreeing to just any support on the false belief that it is only temporary, may hurt you as well. Although temporary support agreements are for a limited amount of time until a “permanent” (long-term) order can be made, a Judge will often make a permanent order that closely resembles the temporary agreement because if it has worked this far it is likely to work just as well in the future.

Whether you are the spouse providing the support or receiving it, it is best to consult an attorney and seek guidance on what a fair support amount should be. The attorney will use your specific incomes and circumstances to calculate what a Judge is likely to order, ensuring that you are not bound in the future to too little, or too high, of a support order.

Authored by IRWIN & IRWIN.

IRWIN & IRWIN Family Law is located in Fullerton, California. We provide a full suite of family law services from divorce litigation, divorce mediation, child custody issues, domestic violence restraining orders and representing minors in court. “Every situation is different, and some come with very complex financial issues. Our legal team is here to support you during a very troubling time and prepare you for court, or to at least help negotiate or mediate the issues out to establish an equitable legal resolution,” says Kelly Irwin, Senior Litigator at the firm.