When a couple chooses to get a divorce with a child custody agreement, the obligation to pay child support is taken very seriously under California law. It is treated notably differently from spousal support. The legal obligation to pay child support extends until the child leads the age of 18, becomes emancipated, or is otherwise self-supporting.
There are several circumstances wherein a court may order child support. They include:
- Legal separation
- Paternity cases
What can Child Support be Used for?
Child support payments are meant to treat a broad range of expenses that a child requires. It is not necessarily just for the bare necessities. It can cover things such as medical expenses, education, school fees, and the child’s extracurricular activities. The goal is to guarantee that the child’s lifestyle does not change drastically from what it was when the child had both parents together.
Federal law requires all states to publish guidelines to help courts determine child support arrangements when parents split up. In California, child support guidelines instruct courts to consider many different factors, including:
- Each parent’s income or earning potential
- Assets, debts, and liabilities
- The number of children each parent has
- Health insurance costs and premiums
- Support received from other parents
- Shared costs for raising the child, and custody arrangements
While many things can go into calculating a parent’s child support requirements, there are two primary factors: custody and income. A court can consider the income and earning potential of both parents and order the spouse with the higher income to pay child support.
Child support payments must be made monthly starting on the date ordered by the judge. In every case, the order will state that a wage assignment (garnishment) be issued and served. The wage assignment tells an employer to take the child support payment out of the parent-employee’s wages.
However, it is possible to go about making child support payments in other ways. As long as the parents can agree to an arrangement for payment, there are procedures in place that will help achieve that end. It may be wise to consult an attorney prior to setting something up independently just so that parents can ensure that procedural safeguards are in place to ensure the child receives everything he or she needs.
Child support orders can be changed. If you are responsible for paying child support, but your financial situation has changed, you can ask to have your obligation reduced.
Remember child support is for the child
A court will not order a parent to pay child support if it does not believe that it is truly in the best interest of the child.
What is best for kids
Child support determinations are based on calculations to provide the best outcomes for children. It can be a complicated endeavor that’s why It’s always best to work with an experienced family law attorney.
Contact our law firm today at 562-439-9001if you or someone you know needs the help of an experienced family law attorney. We will be there when you call.
If you have recently been served with divorce papers in Long Beach, Seal Beach, Lakewood, Palos Verdes, San Pedro, Newport Beach, or Los Angeles; we can help you. William D. Evans family law attorneys are here to help you. Contact our law firm today at 562-439-900, schedule a free consultation!