Determining child support in California
Whether married couples decide to legally separate or get a divorce, you must carefully choose legal matters involving children. Among the most crucial are legal decision-making rights, physical custody, and child support payments. A local attorney experienced with divorce and family law cases can respond to your legal questions.
If you are planning on filing a divorce, you need someone who can help you file and fill out paperwork. A California law office specializing in divorce matters and legal separation actions can help you deal with child support issues.
Our Orange County child support attorneys know relevant state law and can provide the legal assistance you need.
This article focuses on child support orders, including determining and who is responsible for making payments. It is divided into seven sections, as seen below:
- The best interests of the child involved
- Federal and state laws on child support collection
- What makes child support cases complicated
- Understanding basic child support laws
- Basics of receiving child support payment
- Determining child custody payments
- Seek legal Help from our Orange County family lawyers
The best interests of the child involved
In both uncontested and contested divorce cases, most parents wish to emotionally and financially support their children, even after the dissolution of marriage.
Whether divorce or legal separation is filed, the parents or the family court will design a parenting plan. Among the factors that come into play are daily parenting time, vacations and holidays, and parental communication.
In general, the family support division makes use of the State of California online calculator. A California family court generally will not deviate from the guideline child support amount.
However, the mental health, history of substance abuse, or any criminal record involving domestic violence or child abuse and neglect can drastically change the equation. Additionally, if your ex-spouse refuses to make child support payments, it is highly recommended to seek legal advice.
Federal and state laws on child support collection
Within a divorce or legal separation, spouses would have to deal with child custody and visitation issues, property division, alimony, spousal support, spousal maintenance, or child support payments. California divorce laws tend to be strict, and family law cases brought to the divorce court are pretty complicated.
State and federal child support laws are in place both for people paying and collecting child support. You must note that the court has jurisdiction over how long child support orders may last. Child support may continue for children until they become 18 years old or graduate from high school.
Determining income and setting support for a child
Under the Family Code, the term gross income may include the following, whichever is applicable:
- wages, salaries, and bonuses
- interests, dividends, pensions, and annuities
- trust income
- rents, commissions, and royalties
- unemployment benefits, workers compensation benefits, disability insurance benefits, Social Security benefits
- spousal support received from an individual who is not part of the child support proceedings
Certain deductions may be applied to the gross income to determine the net disposable income. Applicable deductions would generally include job-related expenses, federal and state taxes. Mandatory retirement benefits, mandatory union dues, deductions for health insurance, and child or spousal support being paid in another case may also be counted as applicable deductions.
What makes child support cases complicated
If a married couple is going through a divorce or legal separation and children are involved, a significant parenting concern is who will pay child support. Not many are aware of the impact of child custody and parenting time and child custody on guideline child support. It would be good to remember that the guideline formula considers the total amount of time that the child spends with each parent.
In general, the parent who received full custody is spending more money caring for that child. As such, if both parties have the same monthly income, the parent who spends less time caring for the child would likely have to make child support payments to the other party.
You must also note that the court can order an unemployed parent to make job contacts. Upon determining that a parent has the opportunity and ability to earn income, the court can impute or assign an income amount to a parent. This is used to calculate child support even if such income is not being earned.
A knowledgeable and well-trained Orange County family law attorney can help explain how to calculate child support. They can also discuss how courts determine who makes the payments and how they establish and enforce a child support agreement.
Understanding basic child support laws
Given ideal circumstances, divorcing parties are open to discussing, negotiating, and compromising to arrive at a fair agreement. This, however, is not always the case. If you have problems with an ex-spouse who is not paying child support or needs assistance for child support enforcement, seek legal help from a seasoned California child support attorney.
In the context of divorce proceedings, the Family Court can set child support effective upon the date of the initial filing. If there is a change in the circumstances, you could modify a child support order. Such modification may be made retroactive if family courts deem it necessary.
Additionally, suppose the modification of the child support order is due to unemployment. In that case, the modified order may be made retroactive to the date of service of the motion to modify support.
Parents ought to fight for fair financial allotment for their children. Our diligent Orange County, California family lawyers can help you know more about child support. We can also help you understand how the court can enforce a child support order and how a custodial parent can collect overdue payments.
Basics of receiving child support payment
Child support is deemed payable to another parent after establishing paternity or if a child is adopted. Keep in mind that there is a presumption of parentage in a divorce action. The couple who had a child while married are presumed to be the biological parents of the said child. However, there are also cases when paternity action is pursued.
An alleged father has a right to a genetic paternity test. 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 California family law attorneys can explain all these to you and fight for you as you go through your child support case.
Child support guidelines may vary from state to state. In California child support cases, establishing and enforcing child support orders is primarily done by the California Department of Child Support Services. In general, the main factors that determine the child support amount include:
– percentage of time that the non-custodial parent spends with the minor children involved in the child support case
– disposable monthly income of each parent, or the gross income from all sources minus allowable deductions
Call a trusted California family law attorney today if you wish to clarify how to determine the correct amount of child support given your circumstance and situation.
Determining child custody payments
Couples who file for divorce or legal separation go through a lot, which is why prompt legal aid is necessary. If you plan to get a divorce or get legally separated, a competent and compassionate child support attorney can provide the legal services needed for your legal separation or divorce case.
Getting divorced or legally separated is never easy for either spouse. More than legal fees, the actual cost of a divorce or legal separation can be seen in what parties are going through emotionally. Getting a divorce or filing for legal separation is difficult for couples with no children, even more so for those who have.
Parents hire a lawyer for the protection not only of their legal rights but that of their children as well. Here, the legal separation agreement or divorce proceedings must consider the best interest of the children involved. Given its possible consequences, it is essential to decide on the best path to take diligently.
Seek legal help from our Orange County family lawyers
Consult with reliable Orange County, CA family law lawyers if you need legal assistance for child custody matters. Our California family law firm can provide the legal aid that you need. Contact us at Trevino Law to schedule a consultation.