In a divorce involving children, child support is often one of the most contentious issues. Our experienced San Diego child support attorneys at Scott & Matteson are dedicated to providing quality mediation and family law services in San Diego and throughout Southern California.
An experienced family law attorney can guide you through the complicated process of filing the appropriate paperwork with the court system regarding child support. We can help you determine financial information necessary to properly calculate child support and represent your interests in court. Should enforcement become necessary, we can obtain garnishment orders or take the necessary legal action on behalf of you and your children.
The amount of child support that must be paid from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent is an equation that basically deducts a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s net income based on the number of children that resulted from the marriage. For instance, if there are two children of the marriage, the amount of child support would be higher than if there is only one child.
However, there are factors involved with this equation that must also be clarified, and these factors include:
Of course, other factors could be relevant depending on the specifics of any situation, but if the judge must decide on a child support amount, he or she will look at the overall financial picture of the parties and use the statutory guidelines as much as possible in coming to a decision. Of course, the court does not need to make this decision – the parents can negotiate a monthly amount and present it to the court, and if it appears to be equitable the court will likely approve the amount.
California requires both parents to be responsible for the support of a child. A parent’s obligation to provide financial support depends on his or her station and situation in life. The law mandates child support, and it cannot be waived by the parents in a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement. A parent who fails to provide child support may face civil or criminal penalties.
A standard formula is used to calculate the amount of child support each parent pays. Factors involved in determining child support include:
Disparity of timesharing is one of the primary factors in determining child support, along with disparity of income. The greater the difference in the amount of time one parent spends with a child than the other parent, the greater the amount of child support.
If both parents have equal timesharing, child support payments are less. This is based on the principle that the parent who spends more time with the child will incur greater costs in housing, clothing, feeding, and otherwise supporting the child.
Some of the various types of income that impact the calculation of child support include:
Judges can order parents to contribute to two categories of specific additional expenses for children: mandatory and discretionary. Mandatory add-ons include childcare costs and uninsured health care costs. Discretionary add-ons may include expenses related to education, special needs, travel, or extracurricular activities.
When spouses end a marriage and there are children that were born during that marriage, one of the most fundamental components that needs to be addressed before that union can be legally dissolved is that of child support. Child support is basically an order that requires the payment of a certain amount from the parent who does not have primary custody of the children to the parent who does every month until the children are adults. However, there are situations where a monthly child support obligation can be adjusted, but such an adjustment should only be sought with the help of a San Diego child support lawyer. Below is a brief introduction to this issue.
When a child support order in California is made, it is the result of the court taking into account the overall situations of the parents at the time. Clearly, circumstances can change in the lives of anyone, and that’s exactly the standard that must be met in order for a child support order to be modified – the moving party must show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that necessitates a change in the child support order.
This substantial change in circumstances does not necessarily mean that the non-custodial parent’s financial situation has taken a turn for the worse. If the non-custodial parent’s situation has improved greatly, the custodial parent may seek a new order for additional support. Basically, the court will look at the issue from a standpoint of fairness to everyone involved, most of all the children who are being supported.
Financial circumstances are also not the only ones that could change to the point where an adjusted child support order would be appropriate. If the amount of time each parent spends with the children changes substantially, it may be appropriate to account for that extra time from the standpoint of the non-custodial parent. One other example of when child support orders may change occurs when one parent moves away from a location that allows for a smooth transfer of temporary custody for the purposes of visitation.
If you are facing issues that involve child support and/or child custody, you likely have rights that are spelled out in the California statutes. Rather than attempt to analyze these issues yourself and present them to the court, however, you need an experienced San Diego child support lawyer to help you through this process. Contact the Law Offices of Scott & Matteson Family Law today to schedule an initial consultation.