How Does Child Support Work in CA?
Orange County Child Support Lawyer on California Law
The guiding principle of California family law courts in a divorce or parentage case is to preserve the child’s wellbeing. When parents split up, arrangements need to be made to keep the child fed, clothed, healthy and safe. California law requires the non-custodial parent pay monthly child support to provide a stable standard of life for the child until he or she turns 18. With the help of an Orange County child support lawyer, you and the other parent can come up with a reasonable support plan that most benefits your children.
Our Orange County Family Law Associates offer their assistance no matter where you are with the child support process. If you are wondering how much you might owe, curious if you can modify the current plan or need help enforcing payment, feel free to call or stop by. You pay nothing for your first meeting with us. Please bring tax returns, pay stubs and other applicable financial documents with you so we can provide the best possible service.
Establishing Child Support in California
In most cases, the noncustodial parent will pay the custodial parent a fixed amount each month to help offset the costs of raising a child. Generally, child support agreements are decided during the same time you are seeking a divorce in California. However, you are free to file for child support at any time after a divorce. If you are an unmarried parent, the process of obtaining a child support order is a little more complicated, because California does not recognize common law marriage.
Child support calculation is determined by California state law, but there is room for disagreement over income and expenses. You and your co-parent can come up with a calculation together through your family law attorneys and submit it to a judge for approval. The judge will decide whether the agreement is the best solution for the child’s well-being.
If you cannot agree, you will need to file a child support petition arguing your case. An OC child support lawyer can make sure you fill out the form correctly and include all the necessary information. An incorrect form or false plea could result in delays and unsatisfactory outcomes.
How Much Will I Pay in Child Support?
California law dictates a formula for child support, but the calculation is not always black and white. Courts will take a number of financial factors into consideration when deciding how much child support the parent owes. Some of these include:
- Benefits from unemployment or workers compensation
- Tips, bonuses and commissions
- Interest and dividends
- Social Security
- Lottery winnings or other prizes
Other considerations include:
- Amount of responsibility for the child
- Number of children common to both parents
- Pre-existing child support or spousal support arrangements
- Amount of public assistance received
- Disability status
- Age of parents
- Exorbitant health care costs
- Job expenses that are not reimbursed
- How you file taxes (Single, Head of Household, etc)
Use the state of California’s child support calculator to get a better idea of what you might be expected to pay. Please note that the results of the child support calculator are not final: they simply provide an idea of what you might be expected to pay. The judge or court commissioner will have final say over the actual payments.
How Do I Pay Child Support in California?
In California, you have a few different options for paying child support. The child support order should explain exactly how the funds must be issued to the other parent. In some cases, you simply send the money to the other parent. If this is your arrangement, both parties should keep accurate records of all money sent and received.
More commonly, an automatic garnishment will be imposed on the payor’s paycheck. In other cases, you can set up automated electronic payments with the state, pay online or even download an app that allows you to make electronic payments. To see all of your payment options, visit the website for the California Department of Child Support Services.
For More Answers, Contact Our OC Child Support Lawyers for Free Review
We created our office to provide solid answers and peace of mind. Getting a divorce in California can be confusing, complicated and intimidating, and simply knowing what your best options are can be invaluable for everyone involved. Navigating divorce proceedings without a lawyer is not advised, especially when it comes to important issues like child support.
Our Orange County Family Law Associates understand that divorce, child custody and child support negotiations can be stressful. That is why you can meet with a child support lawyer at our office completely free of charge. During an initial consultation, we will answer your questions and let you know what options are available to you moving forward. Contact us online or call today to schedule your free case review.