Child Support Lawyers in Laguna Hills, CA
If a married couple is going through a separation or divorce and children are involved, a major parenting concern is who will be responsible for paying child support. Our Laguna Hills child support lawyers at Trevino Law have worked on numerous child support cases. We can help you understand how to calculate child support and how courts establish and enforce a child support agreement in California.
Call us at 949-755-8542 to get legal help from our experienced Laguna Hills family law attorneys.
Determining Child Support in California
Federal child support laws are in place both for people paying and collecting child support. Note that the court has jurisdiction to enter child support orders for children until they become 18 years old or graduate from high school, or for a child who is 19 years old and unmarried.
In general, child support is deemed as payable to another parent after establishing paternity (which names both parents as legal parents) or if a child is adopted. Keep in mind that there is a presumption of parentage in a divorce case and the couple who had a child while married are presumed to be the biological parents of the said child. However, there are instances when paternity action is pursued.
An alleged father has a right to a genetic paternity test, where a laboratory compares swab samples from both the child and the parent. Genetic markers are used to either match or exclude the alleged father. Our hands-on Laguna Hills child support attorneys can explain all these to you and will fight for you as you go through your child support case.
Child Support Guidelines in Laguna Hills, CA
Establishing and enforcing child support orders is done by the California family courts. When an individual is ordered to be paid, the main question is: how much child support should be received?
In California, child support guideline is set by a computer program called “X-spouse,” which takes into account the Family Code and the factors it outlines. The family support division cases use the State of California online calculator. The court generally does not deviate from the amount of child support calculated using the guidelines, unless there are certain circumstances that warrant changing this amount.
Child support guidelines may vary from state to state. In California, the main factors that determine the child support amount according to the Child Support Services include the following:
- Percentage of time that the non-custodial parent spends with the minor children
- Gross amount of total wages from each parent
- Applicable deductions
Parents have the right to fight for fair financial allotment for their children. Our competent Laguna Hills CA family law attorneys at Trevino Law will help you determine the correct amount of child support given your personal circumstance and situation.
Calculating Child Support in CA
Individuals concerned must comply with all federal and state laws on child support collection. Under the California Family Code, “gross income” includes the following:
- Wages, salaries, and bonuses;
- Commissions and royalties;
- Interests and dividends;
- Pensions, annuities, and trust income;
- Benefits for Social Security, disability insurance, unemployment, and workers compensation; and
- Spousal support received from an individual who is not part of the child support proceedings.
However, the actual process of determining income when calculating child support can get complicated. That’s why it’s best to consult with an experienced attorney regarding your child support case.
Types of Income
There are various rules on taking different types of income into consideration in your child support calculation. Bonus income, for example, is treated differently than a salary.
Note that the court can order an unemployed parent to make job contacts and assign an income amount if they’re found to have the opportunity and ability to earn income. A specific amount of income is set for purposes of calculating child support, even if such income is not actually being earned.
Certain deductions are also made from the gross income in order to determine the net disposable income of a parent. Applicable deductions include:
- Job-related expenses;
- Federal and state taxes;
- The tax filing status and number of dependents of the parties involved;
- Mandatory retirement benefits;
- Mandatory union dues, deductions for health insurance; and
- Child or spousal support actually being paid (in another case, pursuant to a court order).
If you need help with child support in California, our child support lawyers in Laguna Hills will help you understand how child support is calculated and determine how much should be paid in your case.
How Custody & Visitation Affects Child Support
Most parents are not aware of the impact of visitation time and child custody on child support calculation.
Remember, the formula takes into account the total amount of time that the child spends with each parent. Essentially, the parent who received full child custody (which means he or she is caring for a child more than the other parent) is spending more for their child.
This means that if both parents earn the same amount but one spends more time caring for the child, the parent who spends less time with the child will have to make child support payments despite the fact that both parties have the same income.
Child Support Modifications
In a separation or divorce, the family court can set child support effective upon the date of the initial filing. However, if your circumstances change, a child support order can be modified. Note that a child support modification may be made retroactive (specifically to the date of filing the notice of motion).
This means that if a motion for modification was filed in June, then the modified order will be effective the following month of the same year. Additionally, if the modification of the child support order is due to unemployment, then the modified order may be made retroactive to the date of service of the motion to modify support.
Call Our Child Support Lawyer Today!
If you are having problems with an ex-spouse who is not paying child support or are in need of assistance for child support enforcement, do not hesitate to give us a call. Contact us at Trevino Law to speak with our trusted Laguna Hills child support lawyers who can assist you in calculating child support and enforcing child support orders in California.