I need Child Support help in the Orange County
Every child in California has the right to receive financial support from both of his or her parents. When the parents of a child are unmarried, the court may create a child support order, requiring one or both parents, to pay a specific amount every month towards the support of the child.
Find Out How to Initiate a Child Support Order in OC California with the help of an Attorney
Either parent can request that a judge make a child support order, as long as the identity of both parents is known. If the mother or father of the child is not known, parentage must be established before a child support order can be created and made valid.
Every county in California has a local child support agency that can help any family to establish a child support order. It is in the best interest of the State of California to have every child financially supported by his or her parents, and these state run agencies can help children in a variety of situations.
If parentage has been legally established, child support can be requested either by the parents or through the local child support agency in your county in any of the following situations.
• As part of a divorce, legal separation, or annulment of parents who are married or in a registered domestic partnership;
• As part of a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship, for parents who are unmarried;
• As part of a domestic violence restraining order, regardless of the marital status of the parents; or
• Through a Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children, either after the parents have signed a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity, or if the parents are married or registered domestic partners who do not want a divorce or legal separation.
How is Child Support Calculated in California?
Child support is meant to provide financial support for a child in California. Parents are expected to pay for the child’s needs, which can include the following.
• Basic needs, such as food, housing, clothing, transportation, etc.,
• The child’s health care needs,
• Child care while the parent is at work or at training prior to obtaining a job,
• Transportation costs for the child to travel from one parent to the other,
• The child’s educational expenses,
• These needs may change as the child gets older and his or her responsibilities, interests and activities change.
In California, child support is determined on a case-by-case basis and is left up to the discretion of the judge if the parents cannot determine a fair amount on their own. However, there is a statewide guideline that the judge will use to determine an appropriate amount. The guideline includes the following parameters.
• The earnings and potential earnings of both parents,
• Any other income either parents may have,
• The number of children the two parents have together,
• The amount of time each parent spends with the child, according to the child custody and visitation schedule,
• The parents’ tax filing status,
• Any support the children receive from elsewhere,
• Mandatory expenses the parents may have,
• The child’s needs and costs related to health care and child care,
• Other factors may vary depending on the child and the family situation.
How Long does a Child Support Order Last in California?
Child support is usually required until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. If the child has special needs or if the parents agree to support the child beyond high school, the support can go on longer.
Child support can also end prior to the child’s 18th birthday or before high school graduation under certain special circumstances, including the following.
• The child gets married or enters a legally registered domestic partnership,
• The child joins the military,
• The child is emancipated, or
• The child dies.
Missing child support payments can have intense consequences. Child support can also be modified as the child ages, custody agreements change, or under certain changes in circumstances.
Modifying a California Child Support Order
To change an existing child support order, there must be a significant change in circumstances that justifies the change. Based on the change in circumstances, a judge will decide whether the order should be modified, and whether either parent needs to pay more or less. The decision will be based on the same factors as the original support order. A valid change in circumstances can include the following situations.
• One or both parents’ income has increased or decreased;
• One parent has lost his or her job;
• Either parent has been incarcerated, which may lead to lost income or job loss;
• Either parent has had another child;
• The amount of time the child spends with either parent has changed significantly;
• The child’s financial needs have changed so that the child either needs more or less support;
• Any other factors that were used to calculate the child support have changed.
However, it is critical to understand that until a judge signs a new child support order into effect, the current order is valid and can be legally enforced. If your circumstances have changed and your needs have increased or your ability to pay has decreased, you need to have the child support order modified immediately.
Failure to Pay Child Support on Time, or in Full, in California
If a parent fails to have a support order modified and is unable to pay or does not pay the full amount on time, he or she will face consequences. California law requires that past due child support accrue interest of 10 percent per year for any child support that was due on or after January 1, 1983.
Owing child support past the due date can lead to wage garnishment, and the past due support will be paid before any currently due child support. This means that if the full amount owed of past and currently due child support is not paid immediately, the current amount will also continue to accrue interest until all child support payments have been caught up.
If you have the ability to pay child support but choose not to, you can be held in contempt of a court order.
Contact an Orange County Child Support Lawyers
Whether you’re trying to obtain a child support order, enforce a child support order, modify a child support order or end a child support order in California, it is always in your best interest to discuss your situation with a skilled family lawyer. At Yanez & Associates, we have experience with all kinds of family law and court order related legal issues. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.