How Is Child Custody and Parenting Time Determined in California
Although child support may seem to be a fairly straightforward area of family law, there are many ways it can become complex in establishing, modifying and/or enforcing.
Basics about Child Support
In California, unless parents agree to a different arrangement/order, child support is established by a motion for support filed by the requesting party. The amount ordered at the hearing is based upon several numerical factors input into an algorithm known as the statewide “guideline”. Software programs called DissoMaster and SupporTax are the most commonly used by attorneys and the court for calculating child support.
The Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) offers free assistance to parties seeking to establish, modify or enforce child support. There is an office of DCSS in each county, and their services can be used in conjunction with attorney services for other or all issues, if desired.
The Family Law Facilitator’s Office (in the Self-Help Center at the Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse in Sacramento, and in most other counties too) is another valuable, free service to parents seeking help with child support and other family law needs.
Child support is generally paid by the parent who has significantly greater income and/or significantly lower parenting timeshare than the parent. There are exceptions, but this is typical.
How Is Support Calculated?
The monthly amount of support to be paid is calculated based on a tax-based mathematical formula that considers a number of factors. These include:
- Each parent’s income (and type of income)
- How many children are in need of support
- What percentage of time that each parent has with the kids
- Health insurance premiums
- Tax filing status of each parent
- Each parent’s tax deductions
- Any mandatory retirement contributions
- Voluntary retirement contributions
- Union dues
- Support to children from another relationship
- New spouse income
- Other factors and exceptions can play a role
Why Hire A Lawyer For Child Support Issues?
Some factors, such as income available for payment of support, can be complex – especially in cases of self-employment or under-employment. The law on child support factors, and the many issues and unique situations that can arise with them requires extensive knowledge and careful application of statutory and case law to ensure a fair process and correct outcome.
I am Linda D. States, an attorney with over 20 years of experience working on child support issues ranging from straightforward situations to complex ones that require custom crafting of provisions that adjust with changing circumstances, retroactive modification jurisdiction, and/or review hearings to follow up on vocational evaluation results and seek-work efforts. Knowledgeable and detail-oriented lawyering in this area is critical to a good outcome. If you need to establish, modify or enforce child support, or confer about the reasonableness of an existing order, then I am happy to assist.
Contact Us To Speak To An Experienced Child Support Attorney
Based in Sacramento, States Family Law is ready to help you with nearly any family law issue. To discuss your legal needs, call me at 916-696-2425, or fill out this online contact form.