Ensuring Fair Child Support
At Rombro & Manley LLP, we represent parents in a broad range of child support matters, including:
- Establishing child support orders
- Modifying existing orders
- Child support enforcement
- Collecting past due child support
Whether you want to make sure you are receiving the right amount or paying the right amount, the child support attorneys at our Manhattan Beach office are committed to guiding you through this complex area of the law.
Child support provides a wide range of basic necessities, from food, clothing and housing to school supplies.
What Child Support Covers In California
The intent of child support is to make certain that children of divorced or separated parents have all they need to continue living a healthy life. While parents in a two-parent household generally split the costs of care, a parent with primary custody of a child is often burdened with most of the expenses. Child support payments are intended to counteract such imbalances so that one parent is not left to shoulder the financial burden on their own.
To begin with, child support covers necessities such as shelter, clothing, food and health care costs. Payments are also used to offset education expenses, which may include the cost of tuition, books and other materials.
Beyond the basics, child support payments include child care and travel or transportation expenses. Additionally, child support provides access to basic entertainment, such as computers and television, and recreational activities that are enjoyed
How Long Does Child Support Last?
Both parents have an obligation to support their minor children financially. Child support generally lasts until the child turns 18, but can continue until the child turns 19 in certain circumstances or on into adulthood if the child is disabled and are not able to be self-supporting. Parents may agree to be bound by an order providing support to a child after support would otherwise terminate. For example, the parties may agree to provide funding for a child’s college education.
Child Support Guidelines
In California, child support is calculated according to a guideline or formula based on factors such as:
- The earning capacity of each parent
- The number of children
- How much time the children spend with each parent
- Medical, health insurance and certain other expenses
The parents can also agree on a different amount not based on the guideline. The court will generally approve the parents’ plan if it is in the best interest of the child, and made with full knowledge of child support rights and the amount set by the guideline.
How Child Support Is Enforced In California
Failure to pay court-ordered child support can have serious consequences. Supposing a parent is able to pay court-ordered child support but chooses not to, the parent can be found in contempt of court. This serious offense could potentially lead to jail time. Other consequences include a plummeting credit score, liens on their property, suspension of driver and professional licenses, and garnishment of tax refunds or disability benefits to child support.
Sometimes child support agreements can go too far in attempting to shift expenses to the noncustodial parent. However, if a parent is simply unable to pay because of a change in circumstances, that parent can usually apply to the court to modify the order to something more manageable.
If you are owed child support and are not receiving it, you can visit your local child support agency with a copy of the support order in hand. If the noncustodial parent is purposefully not paying, the agency can use a number of methods to ensure that they face negative consequences until they do so. In most cases, charges for contempt of court are usually only used as a last-ditch effort if all else has failed.
What You Can Do If You Feel Your Child Support Agreement Is Unfair
Unfortunately, sometimes child support agreements can go too far in attempting to shift expenses to the noncustodial parent. It is common for a parent who is paying child support to be left with a disproportionate amount of payments. If you feel your child support agreement is imbalanced, our team can address this issue in a number of ways:
- Evaluating applicable California state laws: California child support laws are complex, and you need a legal team on your side who knows them inside and out. Our family law attorneys will evaluate relevant state laws to ensure you do not pay more than is required.
- Ensuring you are properly credited for your timeshare: You may be entitled to sizable deductions in support, and our child support attorneys are well-versed in spotting them. Vacations and holidays, for example, can have a big impact on timeshare but are not always accurately included. We will calculate your potential deductions to make sure you are not overpaying.
- Keeping an open line of communication with the child support agency: By keeping an open line of communication with the child support agency, we can help you avoid any child support issues from spiraling out of control.
The factors that determine child support payments can be numerous and complex. Our team of family law attorneys can help you better understand the complexities of the guideline formula and ensure that you are paying or receiving the correct amount.
Hiring Legal Counsel Is Critical
Our child support attorneys have the knowledge of California child support laws to walk you through the guideline or assist you in collecting what you are due. Contact us online or by telephone at 310-545-1900 to arrange a consultation with a lawyer.