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Child Support Laws in California
When two parents separate, divorce, or otherwise stop living together, they must address the issues of child custody and support. Child support is the monthly sum paid to a custodial parent by a non-custodial parent or a higher-earning parent with joint custody. Although both parents have an obligation to shoulder at least some of their children’s expenses and care, child support is designed to provide the child with the level of care he or she would receive if both parents were living and contributing together.
How Is Child Support Determined?
Child support may be established either by an agreement decided by the parents or by judicial decree.
- In the event that a judge determines the child support award, he or she will consider the following factors:
- The income and earning capacity of each parent
- The number of children the parents share
- The amount of time each parent is able to allocate to each child
- The cost of the children’s health insurance
- The status of each parent’s tax filings
- Each parent’s expenses for mortgage interest, property tax, etc.
- The amount of spousal support paid by the higher-earning spouse
- Any other child support payments received or paid by each parent
- Additional child care expenses, including daycare tuition, visitation travel costs, school books, tuition and materials, uninsured health expenses, and any special needs
Child Support & Stepparent Adoption
Stepparents can also become involved in child support for their spouse that has a child from a previous relationship. When a stepparent comes into the picture, they may want to the child to be treated as their own. This includes gaining legal authority of them and being able to legally say they are their child. If the other parent is unwilling to sign over rights, then those rights will need to be terminated by the court.
In some instances, the newly married couple may attempt to use the issue of child support to prove abandonment by the non-custodial parent. They may have failed to make any or all of their payments, even though the child is biologically theirs.
The court can review this and may find that the non-custodial parent is unfit to care for the child and that they have demonstrated disinterest. This is when a step-parent can step in and request custody. They may be able to share joint custody with their spouse even though only one of them is a biological parent. Issues can also arise if the stepparent and biological parent divorce.
Even though one of them is the biological parent, under the eyes of the law they both share rights and custody can then be divided between them. For those that want to make an adjustment to support payments, it should always be done legally through a modification to avoid any ramifications.
Either parent can request a change be made to either raise or lower the payments and the court will decide if they believe the adjustment is in order. It is important to find a local, trustworthy San Bernardino child support attorney who can guide you through this entire process.
Request a Consultation with a Top-Rated Divorce Attorney
If you need a lawyer for a child support case in San Bernardino, turn to us. For most parents, their children are the focal point of their lives. Nothing supersedes the importance of your children's health and safety. At the Law Office of Michael R. Young, we are similarly committed to ensuring the continued protection of your children’s best interests. For an attorney who cares about you and your family, contact our team firm right away and receive a consultation. We can be reached at (909) 315-4588.
- Thinking about filing for divorce
- Concerned about custody of your children
- Worried about the division of your property
What is a contested divorce
When spouses don’t agree on an issue, whether it involves child custody or spousal support, a divorce is considered contested. It is the most complicated type of divorce, as a couple will need to go through numerous steps to finalize their divorce. Since contested divorces often go to divorce court with a judge, having legal representation during the trial is crucial.
How is spousal support or alimony calculated
There are numerous factors considered when a judge is determining how much and how long alimony should be paid. Some of those factors include the earning capacity of each spouse, how long the marriage lasted, the standard of living during the marriage, each spouse’s health and age, marital debts and property, and the sacrifices each spouse made during the marriage (such as staying at home with the children so the other spouse could work).
Who pays child support and how is child support determined
The noncustodial parent will be responsible for child support if the court determines it is necessary or parents come to an agreement to be approved by the court. The factors used to determined child support include the income / earning capacity of each parent, the number of children shared, each parent’s expenses, child care expenses, and other related issues.
How is property divided
California is a community property state. That means each spouse is given 50% ownership of the property accumulated during the marriage. This can include homes, vehicles, art, checking accounts, retirement / pension funds, small businesses, and other valuables. Items, accounts, or valuables that were kept separate throughout the entire marriage may be considered separate property and are therefore not subject to property division laws.
How long does it take for a divorce to be final
This can depend on a number of factors, such as whether it is a contested or uncontested divorce. Even if a divorce is uncontested, there is a six-month waiting period in California for the judge to grant a divorce. Likewise, those seeking contested divorces must wait six months for a trial to be ordered. How quickly a divorce is finalized will also depend heavily on how easily spouses agree on matters such as child support, property division, alimony, child custody, and other important matters.
Why should I hire a family law and divorce attorney
Going through a divorce or family law dispute can be complicated, confusing, and emotional. Regardless of whether spouses or family members think they are on the same page, having an attorney who is looking out for the best interests of the client can be invaluable. When you hire an attorney, you can have peace of mind knowing your rights and interests will be protected throughout the process. It can also take a great burden off your shoulders during a volatile or emotionally challenging time.
With more than 70 years of combined experience, our divorce and family lawyers are compassionate, caring professionals.
e understand how challenging family law disputes can be, whether involving a heated child custody battle or a complex divorce. As a firm with an AV Preeminent® rating and a 10.0 Superb Avvo rating, we are committed to maintaining a standard of excellence in our representation. Why? Because we know that your family and your future is on the line. When you retain us, you are getting understanding, knowledgeable advocates on your side.
With over seventy years of collective insight, we are well-versed on handling even the most complex family law issues in California, from grandparents’ rights to domestic violence and restraining orders. When you need a compassionate family law attorney that you can trust to have your best interests in mind every step of the way, turn to our firm.
Our legal team strives to secure a favorable resolution as quickly as possible—whether in or out of court. Call us now at (909) 315-4588 to schedule your initial consult.
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