Our broad level of family law experience gives you an advantage on every level during divorce, child custody, and child support negotiations. Our child support lawyers will objectively evaluate your situation, taking into consideration all the nuances that come with family issues.
About 12.1 percent of child support agreements are informal, established between the two parents without court intervention. The remainder of child support agreements are formal agreements, established by a court or through a Title IV-D agency. Of those formal agreements, about 22 percent of custodial parents have requested government assistance to collect child support.
We fully understand the concerns you have and will always be transparent in our dealings with you. At the Vanegas Law Group, we will always keep you apprised of the proceedings, seeking your input on a regular basis.
California Law Regarding Child Support
California Family Code 4053 lays out the basics of California law regarding child support. The summary of those laws include:
- Both parents have an obligation to support their child(ren).
- The obligation of each parent is based on their individual incomes, how much time they each spend with the child, and where the child’s best interests lie.
- The standard of living enjoyed by each parent should be fully shared with the child.
- While child support may improve the custodial parent’s standard of living, this is acceptable since it would also be improving the child’s standard of living.
- The child support orders in California reflect the fact that it is an expensive state to live in.
- There is a presumption that the parent with primary custody already contributes a significant amount of his or her resources to the child (although is a presumption that can potentially be rebutted).
- The point of the child support guidelines in the state of California is to reduce conflict and lessen litigation.
A parent’s legal support duty continues until the child turns 18 and has graduated from high school or is a full-time high school student or attends school part-time due to a medical condition until the child turns 19. Child support also ends when the child marries, dies, or is legally free in some way (such as joining the military). If the parents have a disabled adult child and that child cannot support himself or herself, both parents can be ordered to continue to support the child past the child’s 18th birthday and graduation from high school.
What is the California Formula for Child Support?
Child support negotiations will start with an Income and Expense Declaration filled out by each parent. This Declaration is filled out under penalty of perjury to provide proof of income. Based on these declarations, the judge will determine the amount of support after looking at the net disposable income for each parent. Net disposable income is the income, after taxes, mandatory retirement contributions, health premiums, child or spousal support already being paid, and any costs associated with raising children from a prior relationship. Any other sources of income will also be factored in such as: self-employment earnings, unemployment benefits, disability and workers’ compensation benefits, Social Security and pensions, rental property income, state lottery winnings, and investment interest.
Expenses are also factored in, including food, clothing, shelter, health insurance premiums, education expenses, childcare, unpaid medical bills, extracurricular activity costs, and travel costs for visitation. Child support is also based on how much time each parent spends with the child (“time-share”). This is based on how many hours each parent physically spends with the child; the more time, the more he or she could be ordered to pay child support. If you want to estimate child support payments, navigate to this page put in the information above.
Issues That Can Get in the Way When Determining Child Support
There are certain issues that can potentially get in the way when determining child support—issues the California legislature might not have envisioned, including:
- Issues regarding parental alienation or parental “gatekeeping.” This involves parents who get in the way of the other’s time with the child. This can be done as a means of (artificially) increasing that parent’s time, thus increasing child support payments.
- On the flip side, a parent may seek parenting time they really don’t want or cannot handle, simply to decrease their child support responsibility.
- One or both parents may refuse to stay gainfully employed, despite having the ability and opportunity.
- Other parents may lie about their income, claiming it is less than it is simply to pay less child support.
There are laws that address (and punish) these tactics, so it is important that you speak to your child support lawyers if you suspect your co-parent is engaging in them.
Can Child Support Be Modified?
California child support can only be modified under very specific circumstances. California allows parents to request a modification to child support every three years, but only when there has been a substantial change in circumstances. A “substantial” change in circumstances could include changes in visitation or custody terms, changes in the child’s expenses, the incarceration of a parent, the military deployment of a parent, or changes in a parent’s income. Changes to a parent’s income could be from loss of employment (voluntarily quitting a job is not a reason for a modification). Proof of that change in income will be necessary via pay stubs or tax returns.
How the Child Support Lawyers at Vanegas Law Group Can Help
The child support lawyers at the Vanegas Law Group will work hard on your behalf to secure a satisfactory resolution to your child support issues. Our attorneys strive to create a personal connection with all our clients. We are fully vested in the outcome of your family law issue and will use all of our experience to ensure the best results. We truly care about you and your family and what is best for all of you. To this end, the philosophy of the Vanegas Law Group revolves around a deep dedication to protecting your rights. Contact Vanegas Law Group today!