California Family Code Section 4322 - Interpretation

In In re Marriage of Terry (2000) 80 Cal.App.4th 921, the court held the question of the sufficiency of a spouse's separate estate for purposes of Family Code section 4322 withholding or termination of support presents "a mixed question of fact and law . . . ." ( Id. at p. 928.) The value and character of the separate estate, and the supported spouse's needs, are questions of fact subject to substantial evidence review, but the sufficiency of the separate estate for support is a legal issue subject to independent review. ( Id. at p. 929.) Under Family Code section 4322, the trial court must terminate support if it finds the supported spouse's separate estate is "sufficient for the supported party's proper support." "We must assume the trial court made whatever findings are necessary to sustain its order. of course, each implied finding must be supported by substantial evidence. the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to respondent who is entitled to the benefit of every reasonable presumption. We accept as true all evidence favorable to respondent and discard contrary evidence as unaccepted by the trier of fact. Citation." ( In re Marriage of Aninger (1990) 220 Cal. App. 3d 230, 238, 269 Cal. Rptr. 388.) In In re Marriage of Hopwood (1989) 214 Cal. App. 3d 1604, 263 Cal. Rptr. 401, the Court rejected the husband's contention that the wife's income was now sufficient to meet her needs and that the predecessor to Family Code section 4322, former Civil Code section 4806, mandated a termination of the $ 200 a month support he was paying. (Id. at p. 1609.) The wife's financial declaration showed disposable income of $ 1,766 a month and expenses of $ 1,224. But, the Court noted, the income was before taxes and many of the wife's expenses were stated to be only "minimal at best." (Ibid.)