As a firm specializing in family law, we receive lots of questions regarding the guidelines for child support in the state of California. We understand that dealing with any aspect of family law can seem overwhelming. With so many difficult decisions regarding your family and your children, it can be difficult to know when you’re making the right choice. One of the topics people have the most trouble with is the California Child Support Guidelines.
Our team of Family Law experts are ready to answer any questions or concerns you may have and walk you through the entire child support process.
What is Child Support and the California Child Support Guidelines?
By law, child support is defined as the continuous routine of monetary payments needed to cover the living and medical expenses of a child or children. According to the courts it is the legal duty for both parents to participate in financially supporting their children. In some instances the court must order a parent to assume those responsibilities voluntarily or through forced wage garnishment.
One of the most common questions our clients ask is “Who determines the amount of child support paid and how is that amount calculated?”
How Is Child Support Calculated in The California Child Support Guidelines?
Each state employs specific guidelines to determine the amount of child support ordered. In the state of California these guidelines are set by law. The amount of child support ordered is based on several factors.
- A strict calculation of each parent’s net disposable income,
- and the allotted time that child is in the care of each parent.
There are several forms of income factored into the calculation. This includes:
- rental income
- and other forms that can be found here – California Child Support Services.
To calculate net disposable income, taxes, union dues, health premiums, child support and alimony from previous relationships and the cost of raising children from another relationship, are deducted from the total income.
Challenges That Can Cause Child Support Payments To Be Improperly Calculated
Sometimes child support can be improperly calculated because of actions taking by one of the parents. There are times when a parent will only want to claim more time-sharing with the kids to reduce their child support payments or increase the amount of child support they receive. They sometimes increase the time they spend with their kids by keeping the kids away from the other parent. Oftentimes this causes parental alienation.
Another method we commonly see is that one parent either refuses to have a job that is within their skill level and earning capacity, or they claim their income is lower than then it actually is.
This happens because of the common misconception, that the parent who is the non-custodial parent or the parent with the higher income has to pay the most child support. In California, the responsibility falls on both parents to support their children.
Working with an experienced family law lawyer can help you around these complicated situations. These scenarios are common and we have aided many clients through them.
What Happens If I Don’t Pay Child Support?
Purposefully not paying child support is always the wrong path to take. Not paying child support could leave you in contempt of court which could land you in jail and put a stain on your record. In addition to that you can face property liens and your credit score will be negatively impacted. Your drivers license would be revoked, wages garnished, and you can lose out on your tax refunds.
Even if you move to another state, you are held liable for child support as ordered by the California family court system. Federal law dictates that if you owe child support for over 2 years or more than $10,000 you could face up to two years in prison and additional fines. Needless to say, refusing to pay is not the option to take.
As family court lawyers, we understand that circumstances change and with that sometimes the state of your finances change as well. If you are in a situation where you can no longer afford to pay child support, you need to file for modification of the child support order.
At Bansmer Law we work with you to gather all the necessary documents to prove to a judge that child support payments need to be modified. You want to this start this process as soon as possible, because even when the payments are modified, you will still owe any back payments you missed.
What Should I Do If I Have Not Received Child Support?
If you are the parent receiving child support and you have not received it, you should take the child support order to a local child support enforcement agency. In Stockton, you would go to the San Joaquin County Department of Child Support Services. Here they take all necessary steps to try and enforce child support payments with a criminal charge being the last option.
Your co-parent may file to modify the order and if you feel that they are falsifying the reason for modification, then hiring a Stockton child support modification attorney will help your case.
Call A Stockton Child Support Lawyer Today!
As stated previously, we’ve seen a variety of cases and scenarios, from the simplest procedures to the craziest ones. There is nothing we Bansmer Law cannot handle when it comes to your child support case. If you found the info in this article useful for you or for someone you know, please feel free to share!
Child support proceedings and understanding the California Child Support Guidelines can be stressful, that is why Bansmer Law has your back. Call us today to schedule an in office, over the phone, or virtual consultation!