Child support is the amount of money that a court orders a parent or both parents to pay every month to help pay for the support of the child (or children) and the child’s living expenses. You might be in need of legal advice to:
- Prepare forms;
- Explain court procedures for getting and changing child support orders;
- Calculate child support using the guideline, if you have the necessary financial information; and
- Explain how the court makes child support decisions.
Every county also has a local child support agency to help you get, change, and collect child support at no charge. Learn more about the local child support agency and find the local child support agency in your county.
You can also find more information at each parent is equally responsible for providing for the financial needs of his or her child. However, the court cannot enforce this obligation until it makes an order for support. When parents separate, a parent must ask the court to make an order establishing parentage (paternity) and ask the court to make an order for child support.
Child support payments are usually made until children turn 18 (or 19 if they are still in high school full time, living at home, and cannot support themselves).
Either parent can ask the judge to make a child support order as part of one of these types of cases:
- Divorce, legal separation, or annulment (for parents who are married or in a registered domestic partnership);
- A Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (for unmarried parents);
- A domestic violence restraining order (for married or unmarried parents);
- A Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children (for parents who have signed a voluntary declaration of parentage or paternity OR are married, or registered domestic partners, and do not want to get legally separated or divorced )
Find out more on how to ask for child support in one of these types of court cases. Either parent can later ask the judge to change the support amount if the situation changes. Find out more about changing a child support order.
Child support can also be ordered as part of a case filed by the local child support agency (LCSA), which is the local government agency located in each county that provides services to establish parentage and establish and enforce child support orders. Here is how:
- If one of the parents has been getting public assistance (like TANF -Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), the LCSA automatically files a child support case against the noncustodial parent. The case also includes as a party the custodial parent that is receiving public assistance.
- Either parent can ask the LCSA to provide child support services, which will then start a child support case.
- If a child is in foster care, the LCSA may start a child support case against one or both parents.
- Either parent can ask the LCSA to take over enforcement of a child support order in a family law case (like a divorce or parentage case).
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Divorce cases are very difficult and complex. You need an experienced Los Angeles Family Attorney to guide you through the legal process. Contact our law firm today at 562-439-9001 if you or someone you know needs the help of an experienced family law attorney. We will be here for you when you call. Schedule a free consultation!
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This is intended as general advice and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Each situation is unique and requires specific analysis of relevant contracts, facts and legal obligations.