17 Nov Child Support in California: Money Matters
How are child support payments calculated in California?
Child support payments are calculated based on a Court Commissioner of family law Judge’s estimation on total child care costs. Essentially, a family law Judge will have the final say in how much you must pay.
A Family Law Judge considers the following in determining how much an individual is ordered to pay:
- The number of children shared between the parties
- The amount of time each parent spends with the children
- Earnings/salaries of both parties
- Monthly expenses that the ordered party has to consider (mortgage, debt, etc)
- Special needs of the children
While these are only a few of the factors that a family law Judge considers, these guidelines can give you insight as to how child support orders are calculated. In some circumstances, the party that is ordered to pay child support may have to finance the education, child care, and/or extracurricular activities of the children involved.
Filing a Child Support Order in California
In order to file a child support order, either parent must ask the court for a court order. This can be done through the court or through the local child support agency. How this happens depends on whether you are filing for the first time or whether you have a pre-existing family court case. If you do not have a pre-existing family court case, the kind of court order you file will depend on whether you are married to your partner, whether you have a registered common-law relationship, or whether you are unmarried.
If you are married to the other parent or you are in a registered common-law relationship, you can ask for a child support order in divorce proceedings, domestic violence restraining orders, in filing a petition for custody and support of minor children, or through a Local Child Support Agency.
If you are not married and you are not in a registered common-law relationship, you can request child support through a parentage case, domestic violence/restraining order case, or through a Local Child Support Agency.
What if I can no longer afford to pay child support?
If the Court orders you to pay child support, and you can no longer afford to make your payments, you need to make a formal request to the Court stating the reason in which you can no longer afford your payments. Valid reasons include the loss of a job, a decrease in health causing lost wages, and if you have been sent to jail for a prolonged period of time. The sooner you make your request, the better it is for a Court to determine suitable payment options.
If you find that you are behind in child support payments, you should contact your partner and your local child support agency worker as soon as possible. Not paying child support can have major consequences, and being in contempt of court (as child support is court ordered) could affect your record down the line.
Contact us to schedule a consultation with Damian Nolan, a professional child support lawyer about your situation today.