Westlake Village Child Support Attorney
Our Child Support Lawyers Can Fight for Your Children's Needs
Child support refers to a support obligation owing on behalf of a child or an amount owning to a county for reimbursement of public assistance paid on behalf of a child pursuant to Family Code Section 17402. It also refers to past-due support and arrearages; and, for children owed a duty of support, it includes “maintenance and education.” Family Code Section 3900 codifies the general obligation of both parents to support their minor children in the manner suitable to the child’s circumstances.
Do Both Mothers and Fathers Pay Child Support in California?
All minor children of the parents are owed a statutory duty of support. The obligation is not tied to the parents’ mutual status; nor is it limited to biological offspring. Moreover, the obligation is gender-neutral. Thus, same sex couples may be a child’s parents, both of whom owe a child support duty.
This general obligation is also reflected in a statement of legislative intent regarding application of the “statewide uniform child support guideline”. Children deserve to be as protected as possible when their parents are separated or choose to obtain a divorce. They should not have to suffer loss of one or both parents' support due to circumstances outside of their control, namely a breakup or a divorce.
Child Support Laws in California
Child support; principles of uniform guidelines - Family Code §4053 provides that in implementing the statewide uniform guideline, the courts shall adhere to the following principles:
- A parent’s first and principal obligation is to support the parent’s minor children according to the parent’s circumstances and station in life.
- Both parents are mutually responsible for the support of their children.
- The guideline takes into account each parent’s actual income and level of responsibility for the children.
- Each parent should pay for the support of the children according to the parent’s ability.
- The guideline seeks to place the interests of children as the state’s top priority.
- Children should share in the standard of living of both parents. Child support may therefore appropriately improve the standard of living of the custodial household to improve the lives of the children.
- Child support orders in cases in which both parents have high levels of responsibility for the children should reflect the increased costs of raising the children in two homes and should minimize significant disparities in the children’s living standards in the two homes.
- The financial needs of the children should be met through private financial resources as much as possible.
- It is presumed that a parent having primary physical responsibility for the children contributes a significant portion of available resources for the support of the children.
- The guideline seeks to encourage fair and efficient settlements of conflicts between parents and seeks to minimize the need for litigation.
- The guideline is intended to be presumptively correct in all cases, and only under special circumstances should child support orders fall below the child support mandated by the guideline formula.
- Child support orders shall ensure that children actually receive fair, timely, and sufficient support reflecting the state’s high standard of living and high costs of raising children compared to other states. (Am Stats 2019, C115)
Determining the Amount of Child Support in CA
Family Code §4057 provides that the amount of child support established by the formula provided in subdivision (a) of Section 4055 is presumed to be the correct amount of child support to be ordered. Family Code §4062 provides:
The court shall order the following as additional child support:
- Child care costs related to employment or to reasonably necessary education or training for employment skills.
- The reasonable uninsured health care costs for the children as provided in Section 4063.
The court may order the following as additional child support:
- Costs related to the educational or other special needs of the children.
- Travel expenses for visitation. (Am Stats 1994, C466)
If you are looking for a child support attorney in Westlake Village who is dedicated to getting you the best results, contact us online today!
High Wage Earners & Child Support
Under Family Code 4057, "extraordinarily high wage earners" can deviate from the guidelines. Where the law is vague in what it defines as a "extraordinarily high income," the general thought process behind the law is to protect the child's best interests, including the standard of living they were accustomed to while their parents were married. Therefore, in these cases, support ordered from the higher earner may exceed the actual needs of the child or children.
Child Support Mediation in California
If you and your spouse can reach an agreement regarding the support of your children, mediation may be appropriate. For mediation to be successful, especially in this often highly contested area of your divorce, both parents must focus on the needs and best interests of their children. Your mediator will act as a neutral third-party; it is your job to set aside your emotions to reach an agreement.
How to Modify child Support in California
Life changes can facilitate a change in your child support orders. Changes in the circumstances of either parent, including:
- Losing or gaining employment
- A decrease in income
- The time spent raising the child or children
- The changing needs of the child
- New children being born
Remember that parents always have a responsibility to financially care for their children and it is a crime to not pay or stop paying child support. When your circumstances have changed, consult with Richard Ross Associates and our team can help you modify your agreement to be in the best interests of your child and your financial situation.
Contact a Westlake Village Child Support Lawyer
As you can see, it is extremely difficult to calculate child support. That is why you cannot hesitate to hire a knowledgeable and experienced child support lawyer in Westlake Village from the offices of Richard Ross Associates. Our firm will build the strongest possible case on your behalf and will ensure that the court treats you fairly when determining child support. We can also assist you in drafting your own child support agreement outside of the courtroom if you are pursuing an uncontested or collaborative divorce.
Contact us to learn more by consulting a Westlake Village child support attorney today.
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This is very important: If you have separated from your spouse before one of you has filed for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, avoid agreeing to and placing into effect a temporary parenting plan arrangement regarding the children unless you will be able to live with this arrangement after the divorce papers have been filed. Once you begin a parenting plan that seems to be working, it becomes the "status quo." It is very difficult to convince a mediator or judge to change the status quo, especially if it is working or appears to be working and is not detrimental to the minor children.
If you have not received a judgment dissolving your marriage before the end of the year, you may file an individual tax return under the status of "married, filing separately" or a joint tax return with your spouse. You should consult your accountant as to the advantages of these options. You may obtain special information booklets regarding tax information for divorce or separated individuals from your local IRS office or read the IRS booklet online.
To file an action for divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, a person must have resided in the state of California for six months and in the county where the action is filed for three months prior to filing the petition in court. This is true of either the petitioner or the respondent - either person can meet the test and allow a filing. If your spouse meets the residency requirement, you can file even if you do not meet it yourself.
The court can and usually will order you to move out of your residence if your spouse convinces the court that you have been violent toward your spouse or threatened your spouse. You could be given ex-parte notice to be in court the next day because your spouse is seeking an order to make you move out and stay out. You can be ordered to leave immediately and not return even if your spouse is not on the property title or lease agreement! Once you are ordered to leave, it is not likely that you will be allowed to return.
Before you get a divorce, photocopy all relevant financial documents that you can obtain and store them off-site with a trusted friend or relative. Do not store them in the trunk of your car where they can easily be found and removed by your spouse. There may be both personal and strategic reasons not to tip off your spouse that documents are being reviewed for a possible dissolution proceeding. Make copies of documents that you find in the residence and return the original documents to their original location as soon as possible so that your spouse won't notice that they are missing. It is often advisable to make the photocopies when you are sure your spouse is away for an extended time, such as during a workday. It is advisable to gather as many relevant financial documents as possible while they are still available and before they have been removed or destroyed by your spouse. This will significantly reduce the cost of divorce litigation if the documents do not have to be recovered later. It will also permit us to get a true picture of all community assets and debts as soon as possible.