Establishing, Modifying and Enforcing Child Support
Child support is mandated by California State law and must be included in any divorce settlement or decree where children are involved. Contrary to what some people believe, it is not intended to punish the person required to pay it or reward the custodial parent who receives it. It is for the benefit of a child, and the obligation to pay child support cannot be discharged through bankruptcy or unemployment, or voluntarily waived by the custodial parent.
While the amount of child support required will depend on the income of each parent, just because a custodial parent remarries or improves his or her financial situation does not mean the child support obligations of the non-custodial parent will change or cease. There needs to be a material, unforeseen change in circumstances to entitle a party to a modification of a child support agreement or order.
If you are the non-custodial parent paying child support, don’t wait until the court holds you in contempt for failing to abide by the terms of your divorce settlement or court order. This is a time to be proactive. The child support attorneys at SLG help clients in California establish workable child support arrangements. We also offer experienced legal counsel in the modification and enforcement of standing orders of support.
How Much Child Support Will My Ex-Spouse or I Have To Pay?
Child support is calculated according to a formula contained in the California Family Code. While the court is willing to take into consideration extenuating circumstances that affect one’s ability to pay child support, the formula used provides a good estimate of what you will be expected to pay.
If a non-custodial parent is currently paying child support for children from different marriages or mothers, the court may subtract the amount currently being paid and use the remaining amount as base income before using the child support formula.
Child Support Enforcement
Failure to pay child support can impact your credit history, result in garnishment of wages, loss of your driver’s license and/or passport, and possibly even jail time. In extreme cases, the state may act to seize certain assets or property. As our world becomes increasingly wired, it has become easier and easier for individuals to be tracked and located. Individuals who fail to pay child support run the risk of encountering substantial legal and financial difficulty later – even if they manage to avoid problems initially.
Modifying Child Support Payments
If illness or the loss of employment creates the need to increase the child support received or decrease the amount paid, a modification of child support may be appropriate. An informal verbal agreement between you and your ex-spouse or parent of your child will not be enforceable and could lead to future legal complications. Our lawyers can prepare all the necessary documentation for you to petition the court to seek a modification of the amount of child support you may receive or pay.