How Does Child Support Work in California?
During or following a separation/divorce, parents are still required to ensure the well-being of their children. One of such ways is through child support. Child support is the consistent payment of money for the purpose of financially supporting the child or children in the relationship. When the court determines a set amount of child support, it becomes a legally binding agreement that the appropriate parent (or parents) makes each payment. The following is a brief overview of child support in California, but if you have more questions, we encourage you to reach out to us at Law Advocates Group. There are many different factors (financial and legal) to consider when discussing child support agreements.
Child Support – Deciding on the Right Amount
In California, parents have to go through court procedures in order to have court-mandated child support. The judge sets the child support amount based on a calculation. The judge’s calculation consists of several factors, which include, but are not limited to, the following: the net disposable income of both parents, how much time the child spends with each parent, and the number of children the two parents have together. Given that each family’s circumstances are different, the calculation often arrives at unique amounts for each family. Therefore, one should not assume their child support payment will be similar to another family’s previously agreed upon number.
Further Details on Child Support
Child support payments begin once the court has ordered the payment of child support. The parent responsible for making payments should ensure they are not missing any deadlines. Failure to pay child support can result in the accruing of interest on top of the payment itself. Furthermore, if the parent intentionally fails to pay, they can face criminal charges. Child support payment can also be modified. For example, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in job loss and significant pay cuts for many people. In such circumstances, the parent can request for the court to change the amount of child support, as necessary. It is also important to understand when child support payments end. Typically, payment ends once the child of the marriage has reached 18 years of age, graduated from high school, married, or died.