Understanding a California child support order. When a couple decides to divorce, it can put a strain on the family environment. Divorces or the ending of any relationship can be even more stressful if there are kids involved. At some point, both parties will have to determine whether child support will be needed in addition to any alimony or spousal support, if applicable. Though the thought of receiving or paying child support can be very humbling, there are child support guidelines that help parties to better understand the rationale behind child support laws.
Child Support Order and The Basics of Child Support
For those who are unfamiliar with child support, child support is an ongoing, periodic payment made by a parent for the financial benefit of a child following the end of a marriage or other relationship. According to California’s Family Code Section 4053 a parent’s first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children according to the parent’s circumstances and station in life. An award for child support is based on statutory guidelines which is calculated based on each parent’s income and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. Under California’s Family Code Section 4057(a) the amount of child support determined using the guidelines is presumed to be the correct amount of child support to be ordered and a court will order the guideline level of support unless there is good cause for ordering a different amount.
Court Considerations and Consequences for Unpaid Support
When awarding child support, the court uses many factors to determine the amount of child support that should be awarded to a parent. California family courts will take into account a parent’s income from all sources including, but not limited to, social security and lottery winnings. Upon issuing a child support order, the child generally will receive child support until the age of 18, however, support obligations may continue until age 19 if the child is still in school and may be even longer under special circumstances such as if there is an adult child that is disabled. It is good to note, however, that even if each party has equal custody, if one parent has more income than the other parent, that parent may need to pay a higher share of the costs for things such as childcare and medical expenses.
Paying child support obligations are important and have serious consequences if one fails to pay their child support obligations. If you fail to pay child support obligations your wages could be garnished; your property could be seized; your California driver’s license may be suspended; and federal law requires that a parent who owes past due child support of more than $2500 may not be issued a passport. However, if there are significant financial circumstances such as a substantial increase or decrease in a parent’s earnings, a change in custody, or a change in the amount of time spent with the child, a parent may request a modification of child support.
Need Legal Advice?
Child support cases can be very stressful on parties when they are trying to figure out their lives as well as the best interest of the children involved. However, you do not have to deal with this alone. Our firm attorneys are highly experienced in dealing with child support matters and we can guide you through the process to help you achieve the best possible outcome. For child support orders or other family law questions in Sonoma County, Mendocino County or Lake County California contact a California child support attorney at Beck Law P.C. today for a free consultation.