Knowledgeable Ontario, California Attorneys in Calculating and Collecting Child Support
Parenthood in California consists of both rights and obligations. While you (as a parent) have a right to participate in your child’s upbringing and in forming a parent-child relationship with your son or daughter, these rights are coupled with the responsibility to financially support and provide for your child. When you and the other parent separate, this obligation continues in the form of a child support order. This order directs one spouse to pay the other spouse a certain amount of money each month so that the child’s needs can be provided for.
In times past, child support was a matter left up to the discretion of the judge hearing the case. Now, California judges are guided in setting an appropriate child support amount by child support guidelines. However, the child support amount suggested by the guidelines may not be appropriate in your case. Schwartzberg | Luther, APC strives to ensure that the child support amount ordered by the court is fair and appropriate.
How is Child Support Calculated in California?
When a divorcing or separating couple has one or more children, the court will need to set a child support amount that the noncustodial parent will have to pay. The California child support guidelines contain a complex formula that the judge is to use in determining a fair and appropriate child support amount. The formula takes into consideration the number of children the couple had together, the income of each of the parents, and the amount of time each parent gets to spend with the child. When applied correctly, this formula yields a presumptive amount of child support that the noncustodial parent should have to pay to the custodial parent for the support and care of the child.
Although the amount of child support arrived at through application of the formula is given some measure of deference, a judge can deviate from the presumptive amount if it finds substantial and compelling reasons to do so. Although these reasons are limited in number, some situations in which a court may feel it would be appropriate to deviate from the guidelines include:
- A parent with a serious disability;
- A child with serious medical needs;
- Special educational needs of the child that are not adequately addressed through the presumptive child support payment.
The court must clearly state why it is deviating from the presumptive child support amount if it does in fact decide to deviate from the presumptive child support amount.
Modifying a Child Support Obligation
Once set, a child support obligation can only be modified upon a showing that there has been a significant change of circumstances since the last child support order has been entered. If the situation of the parties has not changed in such a way that the amount of child support would be significantly affected, the court may refuse to modify the child support obligation. Significant changes of circumstances include those changes that are expected to last indefinitely, such as:
- A loss of a job or a new part-time job;
- A promotion and raise or demotion and loss of pay;
- The disability of a spouse;
- The child turning 18 years of age or graduating high school.
Child support is a complex issue requiring experienced legal counsel to understand fully. Schwartzberg | Luther, APC’s family law team are able to help you understand how child support should be calculated in your case and can help you in seeking a review or modification of your child support order. Contact Schwartzberg | Luther, APC today at (909) 457-4270 to set up a consultation with one of our seasoned Rancho Cucamamonga family law attorneys.