Dissomaster tricks to increase or decrease your support
If you’re going through a divorce and there is support to be paid or received, you have heard of “Dissomaster”. Incidentally, one of my former clients used to call it a Discomaster, which I prefer because it sounds much more fun.
Dissomaster is a program owner by www.cflr.com – a company which ingeniously came up with a plug-and-chug program which takes the child support formula codified in CA Family Code 4055. And now they charge us family law attorney annual subscriptions to use it!
If you are not a family law attorney, and don’t have a license to use this product, I highly recommend that you consult with an attorney ASAP. Even an hour of consult is better than none. There is a free child support calculator offered by the Department of Child Support Services .
Here are some tricks of the trade, from your favorite divorce lawyer.
- Remember, garbage in, garbage out. This is a favorite phrase from the 80’s when computers were just getting chic. And it means, if you put in flawed input data, you will get flawed output data. A support calculator only is as perfect as the data you put in. Don’t know your husband’s income? Then it will be impossible to calculate support. Don’t know what deductions you claim? Union Dues? Mandatory retirement? If there is hardship? Again, the results will be imperfect.
- If you are the payor, anything that takes away from your income (health insurance, union dues, mandatory retirement), will likely decrease your support payment. (The inverse is true if you are the recipient).
- If you are the payor, anything that increases your income (tax deductions, for example) will likely increase your support payment. (The inverse if true if you are the recipient.
Thus, to properly and most fairly calculate the support you are to pay or receive, pay attention to these things.
If you are the payor, and you pay for your spouse and children’s health insurance premiums at an added cost to you (thereby lowering your paycheck), inputting the amount you pay per month will generally lower your support payment.
Property Taxes and Mortgage Deductions
This is Uncle Sam’s way of giving back to you. If you are the payor, and you are claiming these deductions, you will be able to get more money in your pocket. This means if you input this, you will generally increase your support payment. If you are the recipient of support and claiming these deductions, you will decrease the amount you receive.
Some government organizations require you to contribute to retirement. This is mandatory and will lower your paycheck amount. If you are the payor, you’ll want to make sure you include this.
This applies to children from other relationships that you are required to support via court order. If you are paying child/spousal support on another case, you’ll want to make sure you input this as the payor, as it will generally reduce your child support payment.
New Mate Income
This one is tricky! Here is the law on new mate income. California Family Code � 4057.5. Income of obligor’s subsequent spouse or nonmarital partner considered in determining support_.
Typically, it cannot be considered. However, if you enter their income on the Dissomaster, you’ll notice the OPPOSITE of what you may expect, eg, if you are the recipient of support, and you enter new mate income on YOUR side, you may notice your child support goes UP! And if you enter the PAYOR’s new mate income, your child support goes DOWN! Why? Tax brackets. Entering new mate income could push you, or them, into a higher tax brackets – increasing taxes, and thereby reducing payor’s support obligations, and increasing recipient’s tax burden.
Dissomaster B Key
If you are the payor of spousal support, don’t forget to ask for the B key!!! The Dissomaster B key trick refers to the calculation of permanent spousal support. Under the law, temporary and permanent spousal support are treated differently. Temporary spousal support tends to be higher and the Courts tend to use the Dissomaster child support calculator to calculate it. However, with permanent alimony, you are suppose to go through the CA Family Code 4320 factors, one by one.
Historically, family lawyers had use of the “B” key in Dissomaster (basically, when you pull up the screen, you would hit Ctrl + B). The B key lowered the support amount because it was to treat alimony as non-tax-deductible. This was helpful in buyouts of alimony, as you would get it in lump sum. However, Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act got rid of the deductibility of alimony, thereby rendering this B key useless. You can still use it, but the difference between the B and no B bump is much less.
Again, the most important rule for calculating support is: GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT.
Consult an experienced family law attorney to figure out exactly how much support you should be paying or receiving.