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Determining Child Support Obligations in California

The child support process in the State of California can be a very confusing process and it can also feel entirely arbitrary. Parents who are on the receiving end of child support can feel as if the support is nowhere near enough to provide simple necessities for the child. On the other hand, parents who are paying child support may feel as if the support provided is too much, especially because they do not know where the money is being spent.

Whether you are a payee or are the parent making child support payments, it is very easy to feel frustrated. However, understanding the process can give you peace of mind. It will also provide you with the ability to make the best decisions that will be in the best interests of you and your child. Although every case will be different, having a better understanding of the child support process can help you navigate the process easier and possibly have a better outcome.

The following information is a quick guide that will provide a preview of what you can expect in the child support process. For a more tailored guide, consider obtaining qualified legal counsel.

The Purpose for Obtaining Child Support

In California, child support is a court-ordered obligation set to one parent to pay the other parent in order to help cover the costs of the child. In the State of California, all parents have the obligation to support their dependent, minor children. This responsibility lies on both mothers and fathers, and is therefore gender-neutral.

A uniform guideline has been set in order to facilitate a fair and efficient system of determining the child support amount. Provided in this uniform guideline, California family courts will take into consideration the state’s high cost of living. Ultimately, the uniform guideline is designed to reduce the conflict between both parents and avoid the need for costly litigation.

Calculating Child Support

The uniform guideline used by California family courts is based on a complex algebraic equation that will take into consideration the following factors:

  • The financial disparity between both parents; and
  • Timeshare disparities

Financial disparities are the set differences between the parent’s income. For the most part, the greater the disparity, the higher the child support will be. If both parents have a relatively equal financial income, child support will be far less than if one parent earns much more than the other.

Timeshare disparities are important when calculating child support obligations because when one parent has more timeshare than the other, a greater amount of child support will need to be paid. The general concept is that the parent who has more time with the child will accumulate a greater need for support, since he or she will need to pay for housing, food, and other essentials for the child.

Identifying the exact amount of child support obligations is a complex process that requires a thorough understanding of what finances are to be considered. Consequently, a complete review of both party’s finances is dutifully required.

Obtain the Legal Support of a Qualified Law Firm

As a result of varying family dynamics and different financial circumstances, every child support case will be different. Whether you are the parent who needs to pay child support or are the parent receiving the support, it is critically important that you understand your rights. Take the time to understand the process and speak to a well-versed family law attorney who can protect your interests.

With over a decade in family law experience, the attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP are well-versed in child support cases. Consider contacting the attorneys at Milligan Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP today for a no-obligation consultation.

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