Change in Child Support When Grandparents Raise the Minor Child

Once an order for child support is entered, it is enforceable unless modified by agreement or order of the court. There is one exception to this rule. In re Marriage of Wilson analyzes whether or not child support should be modified when the grandparents rather than the parents raise the minor child.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND OF THE REQUEST TO MODIFY CHILD SUPPORT

The parents were married for three years in this case. The mother filed for divorce in 1981 and a default judgement was entered that year. The court awarded custody of the parties’ daughter to mother and ordered the father to pay $200 a month in child support. After the child turned 18, the father moved to stay the enforcement of child support arrears, because the minor child had lived with his parents for most of her childhood.

CHILD SUPPORT PROCEEDINGS

Although the family court could exercise its equitable stay of enforcement, the trial court denied the father’s request stating that the father did not care for the minor child in his home, and there was insufficient evidence to prove that he supported her in his parents’ home. The family court reasoned that a stay of enforcement is reasonable when the non-custodial parent cares for the minor child in his or her own home. In that situation, child support is based upon the actual support of the minor child.

APPEAL OF THE DENIAL TO STAY ENFORCEMENT OF THE CHILD SUPPORT ORDER

The appellate court disagreed with the trial court and remanded the case to the family court to determine whether or not it would be inequitable to allow the mother to enforce child support during the times that the minor child lived with the paternal grandparents. The court reasoned that if the grandparents had paid for their son’s child support obligation, it would have satisfied the court order for support. Based upon that reasoning, the grandparents can satisfy support obligations when the minor child lives with them. The court further reasoned that the mother would gain a windfall, because she never supported the minor child, but received all the financial benefits of caring for the child.

DO YOU NEED HELP WITH ISSUES RELATED TO CHILD SUPPORT?

If you need legal advice and are looking for a family law lawyer in Orange County to address a dissolution issue such as child support or any other divorce matter such as legal separation, annulment, custody, spousal support and/or property division, please consider our law office in your divorce attorney search. We are located in Laguna Hills right off Lake Forest exit to both the 405 and 5 freeway.

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Treviño Law, Inc.
23151 Moulton Parkway
Laguna Hills, California
Phone (949) 716-2102
Visit us at
www.LawintheOC.com

Although the posting of this information can be considered free legal advice for a divorce in Orange County, it does not guarantee that there are other facts which may play a significant part in a dissolution. Circumstances in a divorce case may alter the required action and analysis taken by a family law attorney in California.

Please note that this legal advice does not establish a family law attorney-client relationship. This is a legal advertisement for Treviño Law, Inc.
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