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Child Support in California

Providing for kids is expensive. When the parents of a child or children are not parenting together as a couple, the issue of who pays, how much they pay, and for what will arise. A court has the ability to order either parent or both parents to pay child support. How much the court will require the parent to pay will depend on several factors. The goal is usually to provide the children with the standard of living that they held prior to the divorce or separation.

How much each parent earns or can earn

In determining child support, the income of each parent will be considered. Sometimes the court may factor in a parent’s earning potential rather than what they actually make. If a parent is choosing not to work when they have the time and ability to do so, then they might be required to pay child support at a level that is based on the income level they could expect to have if they did work. This helps prevent a parent from taking a less lucrative job or quitting their job in order to avoid higher child support payments.

Who is the custodial parent?

The parent who has the children most of the time will be faced with most of the day to day costs associated with raising the children. It is often the case that the custodial parent will earn less than the non-custodial parent. In these cases, more child support will be necessary in order to provide for the care of the children.

Parenting time

The more time a parent spends with the children, the less support they will be required to pay to the other parent. When the children are with a parent, the parent they are with would be handling the expenses directly, and therefore not needing to pay that money to the other parent.

How many children are of the marriage

In a family where there is only one child, for example, the expenses for that child will not be as high as they would be in a family where there are four children. As a result, a parent with more children will be required to pay more in child support.

The child’s needs

In addition to food, clothing, and housing, it costs money to provide children with an education and with their medical needs. In some cases, children have special needs that require additional costs and expenses.

The ability to pay

Courts are sensitive to financial situations that would make child support a hardship for a parent. If a parent is truly incapable of paying a certain amount of support, it is possible to pursue a more appropriate arrangement.

Once child support is set, it is possible to modify the payments in the event of financial changes. This is not uncommon since child support might need to be paid for many years. Child support typically must be paid until the children are 18 and have graduated high school. Child support can continue until age 19, so long as the child is still a full time high school student. There are also some situations where support might have to continue longer, such as where a child has special needs and cannot support themselves.

There are other factors and issues that might impact child support as well. It is important for parents who are attempting to navigate through a divorce, separation or custody battle to work closely with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that their rights are protected and that the children are receiving adequate financial support.

If you are in California and have questions regarding child support or other family law matters, contact Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP.  We look forward to making a difference for you.

1447 Ford Street Suite 201 Redlands, California 92374
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Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.