Court Ordered Child Support Not Being Paid — What Can You Do?

Court Ordered Child Support Not Being Paid Fresno Child Support LawyerBoth parents have an obligation to support their children financially and emotionally. However, when is court ordered child support not being paid a problem? If payments are missed, they can negatively impact the life of a child and the ability of a custodial parent to fully provide for them. A child support lawyer can help you enforce a child support order or file a motion against the non-paying parent.

Enforcing Child Support

If you have a child support order, the court can help you enforce nonpayment and collect overdue payments.

Seeking a Motion for Contempt

A court order for child support demands that the noncustodial parent pay money to the custodial parent. If they fail to do that, they may be considered “in contempt” of court. That means the noncustodial parent failed to obey a court order.

A contempt order may be criminal or civil. If a parent who has not paid child support is held in criminal contempt, they may face fines on top of the amount of money they owe to the custodial parent. They may also have to spend time in jail if they do not pay the child support. If a contempt order is civil, a person may also go to jail, but they will be released as soon as the past due support is paid. Penalties may be a combination of civil and criminal contempt.

In order to obtain a contempt order, the parent seeking enforcement of child support must file a motion, or written legal request, for contempt. The motion for contempt should be submitted in the county where the child lives and where the custodial parent is supposed to receive child support. In some situations, the local DCSS office will file a motion or another person acting on the child’s behalf. A child may also file a motion on their own behalf.

There is a time limit, or statute of limitations, on bringing a motion for contempt for nonpayment of child support in California. You only have three years from the date the payment was due to file a contempt action. Thus, if a parent does not pay child support for six years, you can only file a contempt motion regarding the last three years’ worth of payments.

Court Orders to Collect Support

If you file a motion for contempt against a parent who has not paid child support, the court will hold a hearing. If it is determined that they willingly refused to pay, the judge may order a number of penalties, including:

  • Fine of up to $1,000 and up to five days in jail
  • Up to 120 hours of community service for a first or second contempt or up to 240 hours for a third contempt
  • Payment of the custodial parent’s legal fees and costs
  • Selling of delinquent parent’s property to pay child support
  • Lien on real property
  • Wage garnishment to pay child support
  • Bank account garnishment
  • Garnishment of other benefits or accounts

If a parent can prove they don’t have the ability to pay child support, the court will not hold them in contempt.

Speak to a Fresno Child Support Lawyer

Court ordered child support not being paid? Contact a child support lawyer at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks as soon as possible.

When Does Child Support End in California?

When Does Child Support End in California Fresno CAParenting is a challenging job — and often an expensive one. If you have been ordered to pay child support, you know that these payments are intended to cover your child’s basic needs. But how long do you have to pay? When does child support end in California?

When Does Child Support Typically End?

Child Reaches 18

In most cases, child support ends once a child reaches the “age of majority” which is typically 18..

Emancipation

Under the Emancipation of Minors Law, an “emancipated minor” will assume most adult responsibilities before they reach 18. The minor will be considered emancipated if they are under age 18 and:

  • Gets married
  • Joins the military
  • Receives a judicial declaration of emancipation

Termination of Parental Rights

When the court terminates a parent’s parental rights, they are no longer obligated to pay child support. However, that also means that the parent no longer has a right to custody or visitation as well.

Can I File an End of Child Support Request?

In order to end child support ,you must file a request with the right California family court. Even if your child is emancipated or you lose parental rights, you will still need to file a request to legally make the payments end. Once you file your request, you will need to attend a court hearing. During the hearing, the presiding judge will decide to either approve or decline your request to end child support.

My Child Is Over 18. Why Do I Still Need to Pay Child Support?

Even if your child is over age 18, the court may order you to pay child support if your adult child is:

  • Disabled
  • Owed duty of support
  • Still in high school

In addition, some parents may agree to continue child support payments until a specific age over 18 years old.

Can You End Child Support If You’re Not the Father?

Unfortunately, there are instances where after years of paying child support, a father finds out that he is not the child’s biological father. In those cases, it is typically too late to challenge paternity. Furthermore, for the sake of the best interest of the child, you most likely won’t get your money back and you may still be ordered to continue child support. And while you can request an end to child support, it is an extremely complex process.

Speak to a Fresno Child Support Lawyer

If you have questions about when does child support end in California, speak to an experienced child support lawyer. We can help you modify a support order and advise you of your options. Contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.

How Does Child Support Work With 50/50 Custody?

How Does Child Support Work With 50/50 Custody, Fresno CADivorce is often a long and complex process. This is especially true when children are in the picture. In California, there are two major issues you need to address regarding children and divorce: 1) child custody, and 2) child support.

How does child support work with 50/50 custody? Do parents with joint custody still need to pay child support? At the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks, we can help you understand how custody and support issues work in California. Contact us today to learn more.

Understanding the Different Types of Custody

First, it’s important to understand the different types of custody in California: legal custody and physical custody. Both types of custody can be held solely by one parent, jointly between both parents, or a mixture of both.

Legal custody of a child means that a parent has the right to make major life decisions on the child’s behalf. This can include questions concerning the child’s education, religious practice or health care.

Physical custody allows a parent the right to physically take care of the child. If only one parent gets awarded physical custody, then that parent holds sole responsibility in feeding and sheltering the child. However, if both parents share joint physical custody, then they both share in that responsibility. For instance, the child’s time may be split between both parents, one on the weekend and one during the week. The parent with weekday custody must provide for the child during the week, and the parent with weekend custody must provide during the weekend.

The Court May Still Order Child Support Where There Is Joint Custody

As stated before, both parents must contribute to their child’s welfare in joint physical custody cases. Since this responsibility is often shared equally, how does child support work with 50/50 custody? Because of the financial burden child support imposes, is it fair for one parent to pay the other even when custody is shared jointly?

In short, yes, the court can still award child support payments during joint custody cases. This fact is even more true in situations where one parent has a much lower income than the other parent. Another factor that can lead to child support in 50/50 custody cases is the length of time one parent spends caring for the child. For instance, if one parent cares for the child during the week, that’s a total of five days, compared to two days over the weekend. That means one parent must spend more resources to care for the child.

What Factors Will the Court Consider?

If the court determines child support must be paid, it will employ a formula that incorporates a variety of actors. Some of these factors can include the following:

  • Income or income potential of both parents (how much each parent actually makes)
  • The number of children shared between both parents
  • Whether sole or joint custody is at play
  • The length of time both parents spend caring for the child
  • Both parents tax filing status
  • (If applicable) any support received by a parent from a previous relationship
  • Costs of health insurance
  • Contributions to retirement and/or union dues
  • Costs shared by both parents for actually raising the child (e.g. health insurance or education)
  • Any other relevant factors that need addressing

Thus, in joint custody situations, the amount of time each parent spends taking care of the child will affect child support payments. If one parent takes care of the child for five days of the week, then they would need to pay less support than someone taking care of a child for two days a week. Furthermore, if a single parent holds sole custody, then the other parent will more than likely need to pay child support.

For Questions About Child Custody and Support Issues

Were you and your ex spouse awarded joint custody? Are you wondering how does child support work with 50/50 custody? Since child support often requires large monthly payments that can impact you and your child, it’s important for both parties to be able to work towards an agreement or court order that honors your needs. A Fresno divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks can help. Contact us today.

How Child Support Is Determined

How Child Support Is DeterminedWhen awarding child support, the federal government mandates that states use consistent and predictable guidelines when determining the amount. Below, we give a brief rundown of the most common types of child support guidelines used throughout the country.

To learn more about how child support is determined by the courts, contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.

Income

The court will consider both parents’ incomes when determining child support. Most states will look at the combined income of both parents and the percentage each parent contributes to make an accurate determination of the amount of child support needed. Keep in mind that some states use gross income to base their formula, while other states only use net income.

Deductions

Most guidelines allow a parent already making alimony or child support payments from earlier arrangements to deduct the amount they’re currently paying from their income. However, in order to qualify for that deduction, the following two conditions must be met:

  1. The support payments need to be court-ordered (not voluntary)
  2. The parent needs to actually follow through with making the payments

Take note that you cannot take deductions form your income for the support of any subsequent children or spouses.

Childcare Expenses

Many states also consider the amount parents spend on childcare when they’re working or are looking for work. Furthermore, some states take into account the federal dependant care exemption, found on federal income taxes, to adjust the allowed amount for childcare expenses. Likewise, states providing a dependent care exemption on their state income tax forms allow a reflection of this adjusted amount.

Healthcare Expenses

All child support orders also require determining who will be paying for the child’s health insurance. The cost of the child’s health insurance will be added to the basic support order, as well as credited to the paying parent. Many guidelines also require an additional amount of support for covering out of pocket healthcare expenses. Some states take into consideration extraordinary medical expenses. These will factor into how child support is determined.

Other Expenses

In some cases, a basic support order may see an increase in order to account for unusual expenses. For example, your basic support order may include expenses for special education needs for handicapped or gifted children. Also, if visitation from one parent or a child requires travel expenses, the court will divide those expenses between both parents based on their incomes. In these types of situations, a non-custodial parent might receive a credit in the amount of the travel expense belonging to the custodial parent.

Shared Visitation and Custody

In order to determine the child support award amount, courts account for how much time a child spends with both parents. For example, the longer a child spends with a non-custodial parent, the more money that parent will need in order to support that child. Furthermore, in situations involving joint custody or extended visitation, the awarded amount of child support will more than likely be less than in situations involving sole custody and sparse visitation.

When determining the awarded amount of child support, states will utilize child support guidelines. These guidelines are presumed to award the correct amount of child support. However, you can obtain a lower or higher amount than what the guidelines determine. Such cases require that you get a judicial determination of any extenuating factors that necessitate deriving from the presumed guidelines.

Speak to a Child Support Lawyer to Learn More About How Child Support Is Determined

To learn more about how child support is determined, contact an experienced child support lawyer at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks. We will help you figure out the correct child support payments required for your specific situation. Contact us today.

Reasons to Modify Child Support, and How to Do It

Reasons to Modify Child SupportLife is predictable. Even well-thought child support plans may prove unsuccessful. If your incoming child support payments no longer covers the basic needs of you child, then you will to go back to court.

After your child support order is set in place, both you or your spouse can request that the court raises or lowers the payment amount. Learn how and why you may need to modify child support below. For help with child custody modification, contact Law Offices of Rick D. Banks.

You Can Modify Child Support Due to Substantial Changes in Circumstances

In most cases, in order to successfully modify child support payments, you must prove to the court that a substantial change in your circumstances has occurred. This substantial change may include the involuntary loss of a job, a decrease in salary, or a change in your child’s basic needs.

Here are some common reasons to modify child support:

  • Non-custodial parent gains a 10% or more increase to their income. The court generally finds that a child should experience equal circumstances when living in either parent’s home.
  • Custodial parent loses a 10% or more decrease to their income. Sometimes, the court will grant a substantial increase to child support payments if the custodial parent involuntarily loses their job in a difficult economy.
  • Child acquires a substantial increase to their basic needs. This can include educational expenses, medical expenses, or increases to cost-of-living.

Remember, the substantial changes listed above are not based on the intentional actions of either parent. In instances where one parent quits their job or voluntarily accepts a pay cut, the court will not recognize that as valid reasons to modify child support.

How to Make Your Child Support Modification Official

For any modifications you or your spouse makes to child support, you need the court’s approval. The parent requesting the modification must go to the court and specify the new amount. If you do not get the court’s approval, then you will have to uphold the original child support order.

Even if you enter a verbal or written agreement with your spouse for a modification to child support, you should take that agreement to court and get it official. Otherwise, if your relationship with you spouse deteriorates, the parent that accept the new amount can renege on the agreement and seek legal action against you. Judges will only recognize child support orders approved by the court. Therefore, if you do not get the court’s approval, you can be held accountable later on.

Courts will not enforce any verbal child support agreements. When the paying parent fails to make their proper payments, the court will invoke the original support order. The original order will not include any verbal agreements you and your spouse made.

In most cases, obtaining court approval for a modification to child support can be as easy as filing the proper forms and submitting a small fee. The court will generally approve any modification, without a hearing, if the modification does not conflict with the child’s best interests.

If you or your spouse cannot agree on a modification to child support, then you will need to argue your cases in court. This means you’ll need to deal with attorney’s fees and other court costs.

If You Have Reasons to Modify Child Support, Speak to an Attorney

Unfortunately, you will probably find yourself in court if you and your spouse cannot agree on a requested change to child support. For the most part, courts will not make changes to child support unless the requesting parent presents reasonable arguments. Because court procedures are complex, consult with a family law attorney to better represent your position in court. Contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.

What Should I Do If My Child Refuses Visitation?

Child Refuses VisitationOnce divorced, or legally separated, you and your ex must have a custody order in place. You can either work out custody and visitation arrangements together, or have the court make the decisions for you. This custody order will state which parent holds primary physical and legal custody, or whether both parents share custody. This order will also outline visitation rights of the other spouse, including weekly schedules, locations, summer vacations, and holiday plans.

After the court approves your visitation schedule, both parents must follow that order. If you need to modify visitation or custody, then you will need to get the approval of the court. Unfortunately, if your child refuses visitation with your spouse, then you could be held accountable as well.

If you have questions about child custody, speak to an attorney at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.

What Is a Parent’s Role in Visitation?

According to the visitation schedule, both parents must make their child available for the dates and times laid forth. This includes dropping your child off at a specific location on time. Should your child fall ill, the parent with custody will need to notify the other parent and work out a later date for a make-up visit.

Beyond making a child available for visits, many custody orders don’t clearly outline your entire role towards facilitating visitation. For the most part, the court believes most parents will act accordingly and reasonably. Most judges will also acknowledge the different challenges associated with children of different age groups. For instance, your judge may be more forgiving if your teenager is refusing to visit, rather than if your toddler is refusing to visit. The younger your child is, the more active responsibility you hold in ensuring the visitation schedule is followed.

Am I Liable for Contempt If My Child Refuses Visitation?

Any parent that refuses to follow the visitation schedule can be held on contempt charges. If your spouse prevents you from seeing your child, you can file an Order to Show Cause. This order will state that the other parent is refusing to follow the visitation schedule. Unfortunately, this order can be issued to parents with a child refusing visitation. In this situation, you will need to prove to the court that you’re following the visitation schedule and that your child is the one refusing to cooperate.

As stated before, most judges are more understanding towards cases that involve teenagers. However, keep in mind that your case will solely depend on whether the court believes your child is refusing visitation.

What to Do When a Child Refuses Visitation

If your child refuses visitation, the first thing you should do is document the incident and notify the other parent immediately. If your divorce case involved a protective order, then you should notify your attorney instead.

Another thing you can do is to involve the other parent and give them some responsibility towards making the visit happen. For example, have the other parent call the child or have them talk to the child in person. Doing this will help the other parent better understand the entire situation. It will also place some obligation on the other parent in facilitating visits. You should never have to force your child to attend visitation.

Immediately contact your attorney if you suspect any abuse from the other parent is factoring in your child’s refusal to visitation. Though, remember that in situations where visitation does not impose danger on the child, you’ll need to prove to the court that you’re doing everything possible to make visitation happen.

If your child refuses visitation, then you could be put into a difficult position. Always make sure visitation does not impose danger on your child. However, you’ll also need to protect yourself from any contempt charges.

Speak to a Child Custody Lawyer

Contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today to speak to a child custody lawyer. We can guide you through this difficult time.

What to Know About Child Support Paternity Suits

child support paternityIf someone has named you in a paternity suit, you’ll need an attorney to represent you. Child support paternity issues are rarely as straightforward as they seem. The person legally identified as the father isn’t always the genetic father.

Surprised? Most people are. But we can help you better understand the situation by taking a look at the legal definitions of paternity .

What Counts as the Child’s Father?

Keep in mind: the court will act in what it considers the child’s best interests. You and the court may not always agree on the definition of father. In the next few sections, we’ll discuss the various kinds of fathers the court recognizes.

Acknowledged Father

You’re the acknowledged father if you or you and the mother admit or announce that you are the child’s father, despite being unmarried. As the acknowledged father, you must pay child support if the relationship ends, but you retain custody and visitation rights.

Presumed Father

Unless you or the mother can prove otherwise in court, you are the presumed father if:

  • You were married to the mother when the child was conceived or born.
  • You tried to marry the mother and failed (for example, due to annulment). And the child was born or conceived during the attempted marriage.
  • You agreed either to have your name on the birth certificate as the child’s father, or to support the child after his or her birth.
  • You welcomed the child into your home and openly treated them as yours.

The state recognizes all as conclusive evidence of paternity, even if DNA tests later prove otherwise. In other words, you must continue to pay child support even if you later prove the child is not yours, but you still retain custody and visitation.

Alleged Father

If you were not married to the mother when you impregnated her and admit parentage or a court determines you are the parent, you’re the alleged or unwed father. You must pay child support, but can seek visitation and custody rights.

Equitable Father

Under California law, if you are a non-biological father who steps forward to take responsibility from the child, but not allowed to take full custody, you are an equitable parent. This especially applies when you and the child maintain a close relationship and consider yourselves parent and child, especially when the biological parent encourages the relationship. Along with equitable custody or visitation comes child support.

Stepfather

You count as a stepfather if you’re the mother’s spouse but not the child’s biological or adoptive father. You need not support the child after the end of the marriage, even if doing so would be in their best interest.

About Court-Determined Paternity

Either the child’s mother or father can file a paternity suit against you if you had a sexual relationship with the mother. However, welfare officials usually initiate such lawsuits as part of Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) proceedings. By law, they must try to get the father to reimburse them for TANF funds. They will threaten the mother with loss or reduction of TANF benefits if she refuses to cooperate.

Modern DNA testing is sufficient to determine or rule out parentage with near 100% accuracy. If such an action establishes a child is yours, you must pay child support, but will also receive custody and visitation rights.

Facing a Child Support Paternity Action? Get a Fresno Lawyer on Your Side

If you are facing a paternity suit, or the court has ordered you to pay child support for a child you aren’t sure is yours, call the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks. We’ll provide a free consultation to help determine if you have a case. Your child or not, the court may still want you to pay. We can help you avoid unfair child support paternity orders.

Child Support Enforcement: How Do You Deal With a Deadbeat Parent?

child support enforcementIn every state, strict child support enforcement laws hold divorced parents to continually support their children. However, in the past, many kids have grow up in homes without the financial support they need. This lack of support has led to many problems for the children. Fortunately, deadbeat parents are finding it harder to skip out on child support. Federal, state, and local agencies can employ harsh child-support collection tools. Learn about child support enforcement laws as well as how they work below.

Establishing Child Support

First, you must establish child support through a court order. If both you and your spouse agree on an appropriate amount for support, a judge will approve the agreement and make it official. However, if you and your spouse cannot agree, you’ll need to ask the judge to set the amount. To better your odds of an appropriate amount, consider hiring an experienced child support attorney to file a request for a child support order.

If you cannot afford an attorney, your local child support service office can help you establish, collect, and enforce, child support orders. These type of services act on behalf of the child receiving the financial support, rather than representing either parent. These services can also obtain medical support orders, establish paternity, and locate deadbeat parents.

How Child Support Enforcement Works

Once a child support order is established, the order must be obeyed. If the delinquent parent does not meet child support requirements, the custodial parent may request help from an attorney or from their local Office of Child Support Services (OCSS). The delinquent parent can be subject to the following child support enforcement tools:

  • Wage Deductions: a custodial parent may request a wage assignment or income withholding order. Through wage deduction, you can directly take child support through the non-custodial parent’s wages.
  • License Revocations and Suspensions: the delinquent parent may have their professional license(s) and/or driver’s license revoked or suspended.
  • Passport Restrictions: to prevent the delinquent parent from leaving the country, they can be prevented from renewing their passport.
  • Intercepting Federal Income Tax: if the delinquent parent has a large tax refund, the state can intercept that refund to cover missing child support payments.
  • Contempt of Court: this is a legal order that can result in jail time or a fine for the delinquent parent. To enact this legal order, the custodial parent must go to the court and obtain the order from a judge.

Using the child support enforcement tools above, you can force deadbeat parents to pay the support they owe.

When to Get the Federal Government Involved

You can involve the Federal Government, or the U.S. Office of the Inspector General (OIG), in child-support cases when the delinquent parent lives in a different state than where the child resides, and if:

  • The amount owed is more than $5,000
  • Child support has not been paid for over 1 year
  • The non-custodial parent travels to another county or state to avoid paying child support

For the first offense, the delinquent parent can be subject to fines and/or up to 6 months imprisonment. For a second offense, or for cases where child support has not been paid for two years or more, or if the amount owed is $10,000 or more, the delinquent parent can be subject to 2 years imprisonment and/or up to $250,000 in fines.

The OIG keeps an online list of the most notorious deadbeat parents. “Project Save Our Children” (PSOC) both investigates and prosecutes the country’s worst deadbeat parents and child support cases. It is a multiagency task force with members from the Office of Child Support Enforcement, the Administration for Children and Families, OIG Special Agents, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Department of Justice, and the U.S. Marshals Service. Under the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act, PSOC identifies, investigates, and prosecutes the worst child support offenders that meet the criteria for Federal Prosecution.

Get Help With Child Support Enforcement

You can get help with child support enforcement in a number of ways. One way is to consult a family law attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today to learn more about how to deal with an uncooperative or deadbeat parent.

What Are the Consequences of Not Paying Child Support?

It can be difficult to meet all of your monthly financial obligations; however, the consequences of not paying child support can be much greater than not paying other bills. If you are facing a nonpayment of child support situation, you need a skilled child support lawyer by your side. At the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks, we can represent you whether you owe child support or if you’re trying to obtain it from a noncustodial parent. Call us today at (559) 222-4891 for a free case consultation to find out how we can help you.

What Does Child Support Pay For?

Child support payments are set according to state guidelines and the needs of the child. When determining how much child support should be paid by a noncustodial parent, the court considers number of children, income of both parents, and ability to pay. Child support payments should cover the following:

  • Food, clothing, housing, and other basic necessities of children
  • Heath care and other medical expenses
  • Educational expenses and daycare costs
  • Extracurricular activities and clubs

Although some of these expenses are not considered needs, child support is established to cover a standard of living that a child would enjoy if both parents were together. Consequences of not paying child support include not meeting the needs of children and not providing them with the opportunities they deserve.

Legal Consequences of Not Paying Child Support

Child support is typically court ordered. If you fail to make payments, you can face the consequences of not paying child support. There are many legal repercussions for failing to make child support payments, including the following:

  • Leins on your property;
  • Warrant for your arrest;
  • Civil warrant to appear in court;
  • Suspension of your driver’s license;
  • Payment interception from retirement accounts, insurance claims, judgments, and more;
  • Wage garnishment;
  • Bank account seizure; and
  • Reporting to credit agencies.

There are many legal consequences to not paying child support. The state legislature and court seek to find any means necessary to encourage payment of child support.

What Should You Do If You Can’t Afford Child Support

Because the consequences of not paying child support are serious, it’s important to take action early if you think you cannot meet your obligations. You should reach out to a child support attorney to help you seek a child support modification. You might think you cannot afford an attorney; however, an attorney can save you a significant amount of money in the long-run.

If you are already behind on child support payments, you may be able to avoid consequences of not paying child support by seeking a payment plan. Talk to the other parent of your children or reach out to your child support enforcement agency. You may be able to establish a payment plan to reduce the arrears that you owe.

Seeking Modification of Child Support

If you are unable to meet the current requirements of your child support payments, you may seek a modification to avoid consequences of not paying child support. However, courts will only grant a modification for the following reasons:

  • Your income has decreased significantly;
  • Your custody or visitation orders have changed;
  • You are experiencing economic or medical hardships;
  • You have experienced a medical emergency involving the child; or
  • Your child’s needs have changed.

Your state may also allow for periodic review of your child support obligation. A skilled attorney can help you avoid consequences of not paying child support.

Avoid Consequences of Not Paying Child Support With the Help of a Lawyer

At the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks, we can guide you through the legal system and help you obtain a beneficial outcome for yourself and your children. Call us at (559) 222-4891 today for questions about consequences of not paying child support.

FAQ: Child Support in California

child support in CaliforniaWhen raising a child on your own, you may need financial support. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions asked about child support in California. Call the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today to learn more.

Q. How is child support in California determined?

California’s statewide guideline dictates the formula to calculate child support. The court calculates it using the following criteria:

  • Number of children,
  • Parents individual income,
  • Each parent’s custody time with the child,
  • Tax filing status, and
  • Individual parent’s tax-deductible expenses.

Q.  Is there a limit or cap on the amount of child support in California that the Court can order?

California does not limit or cap the amount of support the court orders. In most cases, the guideline’s calculation is presumptively a legal calculation. There are, however, instances when a judge will deviate from the calculation.

Q.  What if the calculation generates an child support amount that is more than necessary to support a child?

Determining the necessary amount to support a child differ on a case-by-case basis. The law states that children are entitled to a similar lifestyle to their parents. Thus, the court often upholds the child support in California that improves the lower-income parent’s lifestyle. The court may deviate from the child support guidelines when the excessive child support amount does not bear a reasonable relationship to the:

  • Lifestyle of either parents, or
  • Amount needed to rear a child consistent with that lifestyle.

Q.  What if the child support in California is enough to support both the child and the former spouse?

This happens when one parent’s income is significant. The law permits the child to be raised in a lifestyle consistent with what the higher-earning parent could provide. Courts will uphold child support payments that bolstered the former spouse’s socio-economic standing (e.g. better housing).

Q. What income is included in the child support calculation?

The Family Code provides that child support in California considers all sources of income, such as:

  • Earned income from employment
  • Recurring interest or investment income
  • Cash flow from a business

Courts will not solely rely on what the parent reports on a income tax return. People are known to run personal expenses through a business as a business deduction. When this occurs, then for the purpose of calculating child support, the court will add the non-business expenses back into the income.

Q. What if the receiving parent does not use the support payments for the child?

Unfortunately, the law does not require that child support be used for a specific purpose. The recipient does not have to account for the used child support payments. Rather, for child support in California, the law presumes that general living expenses—housing, utilities, groceries, clothing—incurred by the receiving parent are incurred for the child’s benefit as well.

Q.  Does the receiving parent have to pay all of the child’s expenses?

No, child support in California is for basic living expenses. It does not include educational expenses, extracurricular activities, or non-covered medical expenses. Those are split between the parents.

Q.  Does child support continue through college graduation?

Child support in California terminates when the child reaches 18 and graduates from high school. If the child has not graduated by 18, then support continues until the child graduates high school or s/he turns 19, whichever comes first.

Q.  What if my financial circumstances change?

Child support in California is subject to modification if there is a change in a parent’s financial circumstances. It can also be modified if the physical custody arrangements changed resulting in the child spending more time with the paying parent than the recipient.

Contact a Child Support Attorney

For more information about child support in California, contact a child support lawyer with Law Offices of Rick D. Banks by calling (559) 222-4891.