If two parents decide to divorce in Lake Elsinore, CA, or if two parents never married, they still share a common bond with their child. As such, they both bear the responsibility for ensuring that the child is taken care of physically, emotionally, and financially. Child support is not a way of granting an allowance to the child. Rather, it is a way for the parents to share in the expenses of providing reasonable support to care for the needs their child may have. Who is responsible for paying and how much depends on the circumstances of the case. While it is hopeful that two parents will reach an agreement together, this is not always the case, and the court system will need to be involved.
Whether you are facing the likelihood of divorce and need to establish child support, or you are already in a child support agreement and seeking modifications, you should have the help of an experienced and skilled family law attorney. At Najera Law Group, P.C., we have years of experience advocating not only for our clients but also for their children. With the help of our offices, you can receive individualized and compassionate legal advice to help you navigate the difficult child custody system in California.
Child support is the financial obligation required by law to provide for the needs of a child that both parents share. In a sense, parents who are together pay child support each time they provide for the child; it just isn’t specified as such. However, it becomes a line item on personal budgets when the parents decide to part ways. The purpose of child support is to hold parents to their legal obligations to raise and support the child they share.
Child support is specifically the amount of money one parent is ordered, or agrees, to pay the other parent, who may share or retain custody of a child they share with one another. This amount is legally binding and decreed by a court. Even if parents do not agree with the order, or their financial circumstances change, they are not allowed to modify the order without first petitioning for and receiving a new order from the court.
Whether through divorce, separation, an establishment of paternity, a restraining order, or any other circumstances that require parents to live separately from one another in two different homes, a petition for child support is reviewed by the court and requires one or both parents to pay a designated amount. Both parents may be responsible for support if they share custody of the child.
There is no predetermined amount of child support that a parent will need to pay. There are many factors that go into the calculation used by the courts, and each case is different. If you can sit down with the other parent and come to an agreement, then you will not need to rely on the calculated amount the court comes up with.
If parents are unable to come to an agreement with one another, then the court will take on the complicated matter of determining how much each parent is responsible for. While there is no predetermined amount, the state uses the Statewide Uniform Guideline, which is the following formula:
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a math expert to understand the calculation. It is based on the following:
In simpler terms, the formula is used to determine the amount of support the child needs and then compares it with the parents’ ability to pay to determine how much is an equitable amount.
While the formula is great for making an initial calculation, there are other considerations that are analyzed when making a final determination. These factors include:
The reality is that the court wants to do what is most beneficial for the child in both custodial and support arrangements. Therefore, they will consider any factor that can help them determine the proper solution.
Handling a child support case may seem easy enough, particularly if the other parent seems amicable. However, these negotiations can spiral quickly out of control and make agreements difficult. In addition, the other parent may attempt to modify the court-ordered arrangement with the court’s permission. It is always recommended that you seek the counsel of an attorney.
Child support is not a set determination. There are many factors that are used in calculating the financial responsibilities both parents have in providing for their child. Common factors include earning potential, current expenses, net income, and disposable income. Each case is different and therefore must be considered in light of its own circumstances.
California statutes do not have a limit on owed child support before issuing a criminal warrant. The reality is that any amount owed in child support is enough to trigger a criminal law case. If you are unable to pay child support, or think your circumstances have changed enough to prevent such payments, speak with your attorney, who can help file a motion to modify the arrangement.
While the payments a parent must make for alimony or other children may be taken into consideration in a child support determination, it will not negate the responsibility a parent has. This prevents parents from attempting to have other children for the purpose of eliminating a payment to an ex, even if that payment is for their shared child.
No matter what circumstances you face in your child support case, be sure you have a family law attorney on your side who can help you and your child. The child support team at Najera Law Group, P.C., uses compassion and empathy to handle your case. We know how delicate and complicated child support cases can be, and we work hard to help you with your unique case. Contact our offices today and find out how we can help you.