San Diego Child Support Attorney
California Child Support Laws & Your Rights
Are you considering a divorce when you have children? One of the most important things you will need to resolve is the matter of child support.
At Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC, we offer compassionate assistance with all areas of divorce and family law, including child support matters. Our team will keep your child’s best interests in mind while also focusing on protecting your financial rights. Our experienced San Diego child support lawyers are prepared to work hard to ensure that the correct amount of child support is being received or paid.
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How the Courts Calculate Child Support in San Diego County
California law sets specific guidelines that courts must follow when determining how much child support is necessary in a given case.
The Court Will Consider Factors Including:
- The actual or imputed income of each parent
- The number of children in need of support
- The amount of time the child or children spend with each parent
- Any special needs of the child
In order to calculate a parent’s child support obligation, the court has to determine how much net disposable income the parent has. The court first looks at gross annual income, which is the total amount of income the parent makes in one year before taxes.
Under California child support laws, "gross income" includes:
- A salary and wages
- Commissions and bonuses
- Income from a rental property
- Social security benefits
- Disability benefits
- Income from the ownership of a business
Then, the court will deduct certain expenses, including state and federal tax obligations, necessary job-related expenses, hardships, and more in order to determine net income. Using this final amount, the court then follows a state guideline in order to calculate how much support is needed.
A parent must typically make child support payments until the child reaches 18, with some exceptions. Alternatively, parents can agree to their own child support arrangement without leaving the matter to the court.
Child Support Agreement Requirements
The agreement must be submitted to and reviewed by the court for approval and must state the following information:
- Both parents are aware of their rights and were not forced to enter the agreement
- The parents are not receiving public assistance and have not applied for public assistance
- The child support arrangement is in the best interest of the child
- The child’s needs will be met by the support agreement
Because each case is different, it is not possible to state how much support you will be required to pay without first reviewing your case with an attorney. However, you can get a general idea of what your obligation may be using the California Child Support Guideline Calculator or with the help of a San Diego child support lawyer.
How Does the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act Enforce Child Support?
According to the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, an extensive law that governs divorce, alimony, property distribution, child custody, and child support, parents are liable for applying a certain amount of money towards living requirements for a child after parents have separated or divorced.
Judges will determine the amount necessary after evaluating the psychological, physical, and emotional conditions of a child and their health and education needs. Other expenses, such as those that may incur as a result of extracurricular activities, will also be considered by a judge when determining child support period payments.
What are the Consequences for a Violation of Child Support?
In some divorce and legal separation cases, one parent is deemed the financial provider and must provide regular payments for child support. If the parent violates the child support agreement as ordered by a judge, then that parent can be held in contempt of court and may face costly fees and may even be incarcerated.
Federal law makes it illegal for a parent to willfully refuse child support responsibilities and payments. Those guilty of such infractions may even face prison sentences of up to two years if the offense is proven to be a criminal felony offense.
Can My Child Support Obligation Be Modified?
Yes, there are certain circumstances in which you may request a modification of your child support obligation. For example, if you lose your job, suffer a substantial reduction of income, or are diagnosed with a serious illness, you may request a modification.
Other qualifying circumstances include a change in the child’s residence (i.e. if they now reside with the paying parent) or if they child’s needs change (for example, the child’s medical needs change). Keep in mind that you can’t just stop making payments, even if you think the current amount you owe is incorrect or unfair. If you have questions about child support modifications, please contact us.
Top-Rated Child Support Attorney in San Diego, CA
Whether you need assistance with creating an initial child support plan or are seeking a modification of an existing order due to a change in circumstances, you can trust in the team at Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC to guide you through every step of the process. We have more than 200 years of combined experience handling family law issues – in fact, we’re known as San Diego’s Family Law Experts®.
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David Schulman is a Rock Star!!- Scott M.
Mr. Boyer and his staff did an excellent job throughout my entire divorce.- Jeff B.
Thank you for your excellent attention to detail and thoroughness.- Troy S.
I am so glad I retained Mr. Schulman- Christina
We couldn't be more thrilled with the outcome.- Chris