Legal Help with Child Support Issues in Westlake Village
Our Attorneys Can Fight for Your Children's Needs
Children deserve to be as protected as possible when their parents 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 divorce. To protect children from being entirely abandoned by their noncustodial parent, the court may choose to issue a child support order to ensure that the child is still supported by both parents. This also ensures that the custodial parent is not overly burdened by the financial effects of supporting their child alone when the other parent is able to provide support, as well.
Calculating Child Support in California
Each state has its own formula for calculating child support. In California, this formula is particularly complex. The approximate percentage of time that the custodial parent will spend with the child (H%) is added to 1 if H% is less than 50%, or subtracted from 2 if it is above 50%. The resulting number (K) is then subtracted from whichever of the following equations is applicable according to the supportive parent's total net disposable income (TN):
- $0 - $800: 0.20 + TN / 16,000
- $801 - $6,666: 0.25
- $6,667 - $10,000: 0.10 + 1,000 / TN
- Over $10,000: 0.12 + 800 / TN
The resulting number is the child support amount (CS). For multiple children, CS is multiplied according to the following:
- 2 children: 1.6
- 3 children: 2
- 4 children: 2.3
- 5 children: 2.5
- 6 children: 2.625
- 7 children: 2.75
- 8 children: 2.813
- 9 children: 2.844
- 10 children: 2.86
In addition, there may be mandatory and discretionary add-on expenses, such as the costs of child care and healthcare, versus "discretionary" expenses not covered in the State's support guidelines, such as educational costs, travel expenses, and extracurriculars. In any support case, the court will take into account all reasonable needs of the children.
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.
Mediation & Child Support
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.
Modifying 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, incarceration, a decrease in income, the time spent raising the child or children, the changing needs of the child, or new children being born, may warrant a modification.
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 Westlake Village child support attorney 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.