What Is Child Support?
Child support is the amount of money that a court orders a parent or both parents to pay every month to help pay for the support of the child (or children) and the child’s living expenses.
In addition to this basic child support, the court may require the paying parent to pay additional support to contribute money towards special expenses for the children. If there is child care cost to enable the parent(s) to work or get employment training or there are any uninsured health care costs for the children, the court must divide this cost among the parents. The court can decide if the parents should share additional costs related to the child’s education, other special needs or travel expenses for visitation. Child support payments are usually made until children turn 18 (or 19 if they are still in high school full-time, living at home, and cannot support themselves).
Who Must Pay Child Support?
Parents have a legal responsibility to support their children financially. Each parent is responsible for providing for the financial needs of his or her child according to his or her ability. They have this duty even when they separate or divorce. Parents should think about child support as soon as they separate. California’s child support law is based on the principle that even though parents have separated or divorced, children should continue to benefit from the financial support of both parents, just like they would if the parents were still together. While all the other long-term details of the separation and divorce get worked out, children still need a regular routine. They need to be fed, housed and clothed.
When parents separate, a parent must ask the court to make an order for child support. The court cannot enforce the other parent’s duty to support the child until it makes an order for support. In order to make a court order for support, the court will first have to determine parentage. If the parents were married when the child was conceived, the court may be able to skip directly to the child support issue. Also, if the parents have executed a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage form after the birth of the child, the court generally will not need to deal with the parentage issue as that form legally establishes the parentage of the child.
How The Court Determines Who Must Pay
In making an order for support, the court will determine each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs based upon their financial circumstances. The court will use a child support guideline formula to determine which parent will pay support and how much that support will be. How you do this depends on whether you already have a family court case (or one with the local child support agency) or you are starting a case for the first time.
Why Do I Need An Attorney For Support Issues?
Child support is an ongoing issue that lasts until the child reaches maturity. It can be reviewed upon motion by either party. This means that in order to assure a fair and reasonable amount it may be necessary to revisit the issue on multiple occasions. With Hunt Law Group we offer ongoing legal representation for our clients. This means that as things change in your life we will be there for you to address these issues with the court and your ex-spouse.