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"I woke up to a phone call from my ex spouse's attorney. I was told that I had to appear in court the following day because they were going to kick me out of my home. I found Paul online and he was able to appear in court with me the following day. It was very assuring to know that I did not have to leave my house and that my spouse was responsible for sharing the expenses in paying for our house. Thanks Paul"
- R.H.










Family Law FAQ's - Child Support

Click the question to view the answer.

How is the amount of child support calculated?

Can a support order be modified after a court makes the original order? Under what circumstances?

If I quit or lose my job will I still have to pay support for my children?

If parents have 50-50 custody, am I still obligated to pay support? Why?

If the other parent leaves the children and there is no court order, am I obligated to pay child support?

I was awarded $X per month in support over two months ago, but I have not beed paid yet. When must he/she pay?

If I give him/her money for support, will the money be used to buy a new car, boat or vacation with the significant other? Can I do anything about determining what the money is used for?


Can the other parent deny me visitation because I am not current on my support obligation?

How is the amount of child support calculated?
In California, Judges and Commissioner utilize a computer program called the Dissomaster.**TM. This program calculates support primarily based on the partiesí income and the timeshare each parent has with the child. Other general factors the court can consider in making an award of support include:

*The payor parentís ability to pay;
*The custodial parentís expenses and needs;
*The needs of the child and the cost of medical and dental insurance;
*Child care and daycare costs;
*Costs associated with visitation;
*Other costs associated with maintaining the childís standard of living such that the child shares in the lifestyle of both parents.


Note: Get a print out of your support emailed to you. Click here! BACK TO TOP

Can a support order be modified after a court makes the original order? Under what circumstances?
The amount of support can be modified under certain circumstances, a few of which are enumerated below. There are two methods of modifying support.

A. Circumstances leading to a modification in support:
Support can be modified by showing the court that a significant change in circumstances has occurred since the last court order. Some common examples of changed circumstances include:

* Raise or loss of pay at work;
* Subsequent marriage;
* Purchasing a house or other real property;
* Increased or decreased child care costs;
* Birth of subsequent children;

Modifications of support are not granted without completion of either method of change below:

B. Two methods of modifying support:
 
1. The easiest and cheapest way to modify support is by a voluntary agreement with the other parent. A lawyer can draft a stipulation that can be signed by both parties and the court. This usually works when the parties have an amicable relationship. Never, ever have a verbal agreement as to the amount of support.

For example: Father loses job and requests that the other parent lower his child support until he can find a new job. She agrees, but there is no written agreement. She has a change of heart and requests the court order him to pay the arrearage that he owed during the time in question. There is no guarantee the court will accept a verbal agreement when there is a pre-existing written agreement in effect.

2. If there is no voluntary agreement between the parties, the party seeking the modification must petition the court, showing changed circumstances exist that require a change in the amount of support. BACK TO TOP

Click here to see what your modified support may be

If I quit or lose my job will I still have to pay support for my child?
If the payor loses his job, he/she still must petition the court to change the amount of support. The reason for the loss of the job is critical in determining whether the court will reduce the prior order and request the payor to conduct a job search or not grant the reduction because of the payorís misconduct that resulted in the job loss.

On another note, If your spouse tells you these famous words: ď Iíll just quit my job and go to jail before I pay you a dime, call me; I would love to help. BACK TO TOP

If both parents have 50-50 custody, am I still obligated to pay support? Why?
Child support is primarily a function of three factors: Timeshare, fatherís income, and motherís income. If one parent makes significantly more than the other parent, even with the same time share, that parent will be paying support to the lower income parent.

Child support guidelines are just that, ďGUIDELINESĒ. Parties are free to agree to any amount of support they desire. The guideline is used as a fairness guide, but not mandatory.

For example: Payor and other parent agree that although the guideline support states that payor should pay $600/mo in support, $400/mo would be adequate to meet the childís needs. The court will enter that agreement. There can be ramifications when it comes to modifying support, so that is best left to an experienced attorney.

Another example, payor and the other parent agree that support should be paid into a Scholarshare account for college. This is permissible, indeed, encouraged. BACK TO TOP

If the other parent leaves the children and there is no court order, am I obligated to pay child support?
Absent a court order, there is no legal obligation to pay child support to the other parent for your minor child. There may, of course, be a moral obligation, but as of the date of this writing, there is no legal requirement to do so. A judge may make a support order retroactive to the date of filing the Order to Show Cause or the date of filing the petition for dissolution/paternity. BACK TO TOP

I was awarded $x per month in support over two months ago, but have not been paid yet. When must he/she pay?
 

There is a two stage process to an order to pay support:
1) The order and
2) Enforcement

Example, you may have an order that the other parent pays you $1,000 per month for child support. If the other parent is not willing to comply with this order, you will need an enforcement remedy to obtain the funds through different means. BACK TO TOP

If I give him/her money for support, will the money be used to buy a new car, boat or vacation with the significant other? Can I do anything about determining what the money is used for?
A payor frequently gripes about where his/her child support payments are going. Is he/she buying a new car/boat or a gift for a new love interest? Save yourself the trouble and just pretend that your money is going towards the groceries and school clothes. Courts will not micro-manage how the child support is spent. BACK TO TOP

Can the other parent deny me visitation because I am not current on my support obligation?
No. Payments of support are not a contingent factor for visiting your child. Often people fall on hard times and develop an arrears. The court will add 10% interest to your back support but will not allow the custodial parent to use that as leverage to see your child. BACK TO TOP