Family law can be very hard to predict. But when it comes to child support, the state provides a lot of guidance. California law makes it clear that both parents are responsible for their children, regardless of custody, and must contribute financially.
Child support is for the child
Raising children can be expensive and both parents need to share the financial burden. The payments made to the other parent are to be applied toward the needs of the children. These things include food, clothing, education, medical expenses, as well as childcare and entertainment.
Child support is required whether or not the parents were ever married. When a child turns 18 (in some cases, 19), child support payments usually end.
How much does child support cost?
California has created the Guideline Calculation, which is a very specific formula to determine how much one parent must pay the other in child support.
This formula considers many factors, but it primarily takes into account the income of the parents, the number of children, and the various expenses involved with raising them. Based on these factors, the formula will provide a number.
This guideline number is almost always the starting point in any child support negotiation and is often the final number agreed upon. While you can voluntarily agree on any amount, the Guideline Calculation was created to provide a fair and reasonable standard that applies equally in every case. Even if someone says they are unable to afford to pay the guideline amount and asks to pay less, judges only allow it under specific circumstances.
Failing to pay can be a big problem
Even late payments can lead to financial fines and penalties in family court. Failing to pay altogether can be a crime punishable by jail time and a misdemeanor conviction.
Once child support is ordered, it is important to strictly follow its terms. Unpaid child support continues to be due, regardless of how much time has passed, and even accrues interest.
Not sure what you can do to increase or decrease child support?
Too often single parents are unsure if they are getting what they are entitled to or if they are being taken advantage of.
Do you think you’re entitled to more financial support than you are currently receiving? Or think you should be paying less? Fill out the form below to schedule your free consultation and find out what your options are!
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