The financial responsibility of raising a child or children is the joint responsibility of both parents.
Either parent may request a child support order, whether or not the parents are/were ever married.
Amongst other factors, the courts will look at the income of both parents and the percentage of time the child or children spend with each parent when determining the amount of Guideline support.
Failure or refusal to pay court-ordered Child Support payments can have very serious consequences resulting in penalties such as wage garnishment, property seizure, or withholding of federal tax refunds.
If you are facing a child support dispute, it is important to seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney. At The Alkam Law Offices, we have years of experience helping families obtain fair and equitable child support arrangements.
We understand what it takes to get the best results for our clients, and we are committed to providing quality representation every step of the way.
Schedule Your Free Consultation with one of our experienced attorneys: +1 (714) 491-2556
Contact the Attorneys at Alkam Law Offices today to discuss your options.
Understanding Child Support in the State of California
Like spousal support, child support is based upon a formula that considers both parents’ incomes and calculates an amount that must be paid for child care expenses. California’s child support formula is based on the idea that parents should contribute equally to the expenses of their children.
Child support payments are not considered voluntary when they are required by a court order or a legally binding agreement, no matter how complicated either party considers the payment plan to be.
One parent may end up paying child support in California if there is a significant income disparity between the parties and the custodial parent has a lower income.
Child support stops when a child turns 18 years of age, but not if he or she turns 19 before graduating high school. Child support may also be ordered for adult children who are disabled or living at home while attending college or vocational school full time.
When can I stop paying child support?
Child support payments may end earlier if:
- Your children become self-supporting
- You or the other parent dies
- The supported spouse remarries
- There is a change in the supported spouse’s citizenship status
- The child reaches the age of majority
Each situation is different, so be sure to contact a skilled attorney to assess your case.
The Process of Claiming Child Support
The parent requesting child support (known as the “obligee”) must first provide the court with documentation that lists the amount he or she would like to request. If you’re making this request, it’s important that you also outline why this amount is necessary and reasonable.
You’ll then need to provide documentation that outlines the other parent’s income.
The court will then look at the California child support guidelines found in California Family Code sections 3900-3902. Within these sections, you’ll find a chart that lists the amount of monthly support based on both parents’ incomes.
The court may deviate from this total if the parents agree to an arrangement different from what is shown in the guidelines. For example, you might explain that your spouse works overtime and should earn more money, but it only recently began earning these wages. Or you might want to pay less child support because you’re giving the child more financial support by paying for housing, daycare, or extracurricular expenses.
If the court decides that it will deviate from the guidelines, it must state why this is being done in writing or on the record. If there are any significant changes to your income over time, you can also return to court and request that the order is modified.
How is Child Support Calculated in California?
Child support in California is determined using a complicated, statutory formula.
Generally, the factors considered when determining child support obligations include financial need, net disposable income, health insurance deductions, other domestic support orders, and the children’s educational expenses such as private school tuition or college education costs.
The courts will determine your total minimum amount of required child support based on the following calculations:
- The total amount of child support due under the entire order.
- The percentage of time each parent has physical custody or visitation rights over the children.
- Each parent’s net disposable income.
- The number of children for which you’re paying child support, including biological children, stepchildren, and adopted children.
- Any other child support orders you might have for children from previous relationships.
- The difference between the parents’ adjusted gross incomes after applying certain deductions.
Your monthly obligation will then be calculated using a percentage based on your net disposable income. If one of you makes more money than the other, your percentage will be higher, and you’ll spend a greater portion of your income on child support.
What Happens If One Party Stops Paying Child Support?
It is critical to understand that child support is not a voluntary payment. It’s an obligation upon both parents and failure to pay can have dire consequences.
If you fail to make your monthly payments in California, the court will enter a judgment against you. Before this occurs, however, the other parent must file a motion with the court.
This motion must include a declaration under penalty of perjury which explains how your ex-spouse has failed to make the monthly payment. Once this is filed, you’ll have to either pay or show valid reasons why you cannot pay for this child support order.
If you neglect to respond, your income will be legally withheld and you could face serious consequences for violating a court order.
What is the average child support payment for one child in California?
As estimated by California courts, the average amount of monthly support for one child is $1,000. However, many parents have more complicated financial arrangements that can affect the child support amount. For example, you might have to pay for medical expenses or daycare costs in addition to monthly child support fees.
To get a better sense of how much your California child support payment should be, consult with experienced family law attorneys who are well-versed in state laws.
What is the maximum child support in California?
California courts do not put a cap on how much a parent might have to pay. It all depends on net disposable income and other expenses, such as medical costs or daycare fees.
Do you have to pay child support if you have 50/50 custody in California?
Each case is unique, but generally, if you have 50/50 custody in California, you can petition the court to modify your child support obligation. However, this might not be advisable because it would require both parents to spend more time with their children.
What is the process for modifying child support?
To modify your California child support payment, you’ll first need to file a motion with the court. This can be done without the other parent’s consent because this is an independent action that could change the number of monthly payments you’re expected to make.
Talk to Skilled Attorneys at the Alkam Law Offices for More Information
It is important that you understand child support laws before agreeing to pay for child support or petitioning the court for modifications.
The skilled attorneys at The Alkam Law Offices are dedicated to providing consumers with high-quality legal help. To learn more, please call +1 (714) 491-2556 today for a free legal consultation or fill in your details here for more information.