One aspect of the divorce process, legal separation process or establishing paternity process is determining who will be responsible for paying child support and what is the monetary value of such payment. It’s important to understand child support is different than spousal support or alimony. Child support refers to the continuing and periodic payment made by the non-custodial parent to the primary custodial parent to be used for the benefit of a child or children.
In the state of California, a child is any person below the age of 18 years, unless they are aged 19 years and still attending high school. Once the child graduates high school and is between the ages of 18 or 19, the child support obligation ends. There is, however, one notable exception to this rule. According to Family Code Section 3910, if the child is an adult and is “incapacitated from earning a living” (meaning he or she cannot earn a living and support themselves), the family court has the right to order the parents to provide support for the child BUT in an equal capacity.
What is Child Support Used For?
Child support includes things that are essential to maintaining the child’s safety, health and overall welfare including but not limited to:
- medical attendance
Depending on your child support agreement, other expenses such as daycare, orthodontics, counseling, co-pays, prescriptions will either be included in the total amount of child support or will be split 50% between both parties.
How Do I File For Child Support?
A child support motion is filed within the family court through a child support lawyer or without legal representation through the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS). The problem with using the DCSS is that there is a backlog of cases. If you are seeking child support and have not filed with the DCSS or even if you have already filed a case with the DCSS, our dedicated child support attorneys are ready and willing to litigate your case in front of the judge.
How Is Child Support Determined in San Diego?
Luckily, the state of California has passed legislation that makes child support calculations easier and more fair with a general guideline formula. However, the monetary amount is sometimes in contention. This is due to the fact that to calculate the child support there are a lot of factors to take into consideration some of which are hard to determine.
Sitting down and discussing the details of your case with one of our child support lawyers will help see how much child support you will need to pay or might receive. Family Code 4055 provides the exact formula used which is the following:
CS = K[HN – (H%)(TN)]
For those who don’t understand what any of that means here’s the information that is taken into consideration:
- Each parent’s gross income
- One parent’s ability to earn if they are unemployed or underemployed
- Each party’s tax filing status
- The number of minor children
- The amount of time each parent spends physically caring for the child, as a fixed percentage of the noncustodial parent
- Health insurance deductions
- Mandatory union dues
- Deductible interest and property taxes
- A new spouse’s income
What Do I Do If Child Support Is Owed To Me?
Our child support lawyers are not only qualified to help you seek child support but to also enforce the agreement. We will help initiate a motion to secure payment for you.
In extreme cases, the state disbursement unit will collect your child support via wage garnishment and will pay you the money owed.
What Do I Do If I Want To Change The Child Support Agreement?
If you feel that you are paying too much in child support DO NOT STOP PAYING. This can backfire and get you in more legal hot water. You will have to pay not only what you owe but might have to be a penalty. The best course of action is to speak to one of our child support modification attorneys and request a judge to evaluate the agreement.
Contact Our Child Support Attorneys Today!
If you are going through a legal separation, divorce or seeking to establish paternity, contact one of our child support lawyers to help you get the child support you deserve.