Fresno child support cases require a firm knowledge of the fundamentals and the expertise to recognize and act on special circumstances that often arise for our family law clients. Since 2000, attorney Rick D. Banks has assisted hundreds of individuals and families resolve challenging and evolving cases. Our legal professionals are available to help you navigate what can be a frustrating and confusing process. We encourage you to review these frequently asked questions about child support, then contact our firm online.
What is Child Support?
Child support under California law is the monetary support necessary to cover a child’s ongoing living expenses and medical needs. Each parent is responsible for providing support for their children regardless of which parent is the custodial guardian. Therefore, the family courts are empowered to issue an order to either of the parents to make regular payments to cover a child’s expenses.
How Much are Child Support Payments in California?
California law does not have a set schedule for Fresno child support payments, but it does provide guidelines. Instead, child support in California is calculated based on a number of factors. The courts often use a computer program to make the calculation, and some factors used to consider the monthly payment include:
- The parent’s income, including public assistance
- The number of children that are being supported
- The amount of time each child spends with the parent
These calculations for determining Fresno child support payments use a parent’s disposable income. This starts with the parent’s gross income (minus taxes), job-related expenses, health insurance premiums, union dues, and any expenses related to hardship. When a parent is unemployed or underemployed, the court is allowed to “impute” or consider what the parent could earn if working to full potential. A Fresno child support lawyer can help you calculate the amount of money you should pay or receive for child support.
Can a Parent be Ordered to Maintain Health Insurance and Pay a Child’s Medical Bills?
Yes. When a parent is able to cover the child with a health insurance policy of low or no cost, the court will order that the parent maintain that policy. When the parent pays health insurance premiums out-of-pocket, the child support calculation makes allowance for the cost. If neither parent has health insurance that covers the child, the court can order a parent to get coverage. In addition to regular child support payments, parents are expected to share in the cost of uninsured medical, dental, and vision bills as long as they are reasonable and necessary. Typically the court will order the parents share these costs 50/50.
How Long Will Child Support Last?
Parents are required to support their children financially until they reach age 18, with some exceptions. If a child is emancipated by a court, legally marries, or enter military service, Fresno child support payments will be suspended. When a child reaches 18 while still in high school, the court can extend child support payments until the child completes grade 12 or their 19th birthday, whichever comes first. When a child is disabled and cannot secure a means to live independently, parents have an obligation to provide financial support regardless of age.
When Can a Fresno Child Support Order Be Changed?
Child support payments are not set in stone once decided, and can be modified when necessary. Either parent can request a modification to an existing order when there has been a significant change in circumstance to the child, the custodial parent, or the non-custodial parent. Some changes that can warrant a modification to a Fresno child support order are loss of employment, an increase in income, or a change in the amount of time the child spends with a parent. When the amount of child support is currently under the guideline amount, the parent is not required to show a change in circumstance before the court grants a modification.
What Happens When a Parent Refuses to Pay Child Support?
A parent who refuses to make court-ordered child support payments can be held in contempt of court. Even if the parent is not in California, the custodial parent can have the Fresno child support order enforced throughout the United States. The child support payments can be collected through a number of different methods. The offending parent could face wage garnishment, real estate liens, and seizure of bank accounts and income tax refunds. A parent found guilty of contempt of a child support order can face other penalties like loss of a professional license, loss of driving privileges, or even jail time.
Contact an Experienced Fresno Child Support Lawyer
Fresno child support attorney Rick D. Banks and his staff stand ready to help you tackle your child support issues and work toward a successful outcome. We can calculate child support for you and provide you with the estimated child support you should pay or receive. For a free consultation or case evaluation, contact our office at (559) 222-4891.