Divorces tend to be difficult, especially when children are involved. Figuring out a child support agreement with your soon-to-be ex is often like pulling teeth. So, it is no surprise that most people’s biggest source of stress during the process is nailing down custody and child support.
Here at Bansmer Law, we have specialized in child custody cases for over a decade. There is not a question out there we have not heard over the years.
That is why we rounded up the top questions to ask a California child custody lawyer. Read on for answers and information regarding your biggest child custody stressors. For further assistance, just call us anytime at (209) 474-2400 for a consultation.
What is the age limit for child support in CA?
The age limit for child support in CA is 18 years old, or 19 for children who are unmarried and attend high school full-time.
But it is not always so cut-and-dry.
In certain situations, the court may order you to continue paying child support for longer. This is more common if the child has special needs which make it impossible for them to live independently, even as an adult.
What does the child’s best interest mean under California child custody law?
Under California child custody law, the child’s best interest means protecting a child’s safety, welfare, and health.
The CA legal system’s perspective is that no child’s quality of life should suffer just because their parents get divorced. So, the judge will be laser-focused on creating as little negative impact for a child as possible.
Each child’s best interest is considered in terms of both legal and physical custody. It is about a lot more than a roof over their head and a shirt on their back. Even details like which parent is more likely to allow the child to see the other parent are evaluated.
Is CA child support 25%?
No, CA child support is not a flat 25%. Some states use this practice—called the “percentage of income method”— to determine the child support payment amounts.
But California is not one of those states.
Instead, courts sometimes use the “income share method” to calculate child support. The court uses a series of tables and formulas to estimate the average monthly cost of raising each child. Then, whichever parent is non-custodial pays a proportional percentage of the court’s estimation.
As a whole, CA child support is based on “timeshare equal to the disparity of income. In certain cases, one parent has the most time and earns substantially more than the non-custodial parent. This can result in them paying child support to the NCP every month due to the large disparity of income.
How do they determine child support in CA?
The primary factors for determining child support in CA include:
- You and the other parent’s gross and net income
- How much time each child will be spending with each of you
- Any necessary costs for raising each child
The formula is challenging to calculate on your own, but the state offers a fantastic child support payment calculator to help you estimate. The court will not necessarily order you to pay the exact amount calculated, but it should get you in the ballpark.
But one of the easiest ways to get a clear answer is by working with an experienced CA divorce attorney. There are so many other factors used to determine child support, and defenses to many of those factors. A skilled attorney like Erica Bansmer can help you navigate the complicated legal system.
How much to file for custody in CA?
Right now, it costs $435.00 to file for custody in CA. We know how steep this price is for many parents—and a divorce is already expensive, which can make paying this fee even more difficult.
But you have other options. You can file with your local county clerk for a fee waiver. And all information submitted with your fee waiver request is confidential, so your spouse can not use it against you.
How long do you pay child support in CA?
In most cases, you have to pay child support in CA until the child turns 18. So, the length of time you will pay child support depends on the youngest child’s age at the time of your divorce. You may pay for nearly 2 decades if the child is still an infant, or just a couple years if they are a teenager.
But keep past-due support in mind, too. Even if you choose not to pay child support, the debt will not disappear. Child support agencies are legally entitled to keep collecting child support until you pay the past-due balance in full.
What happened to the CA child support app?
The CA child support app, first available in 2013, has been taken down. While no official reason has been given, we think it is related to advancing technology.
It used to be hard to browse the web on smartphones. Every business and public service had an app since it was such a struggle to navigate websites back then. But now, many people prefer using a mobile web browser to installing an army of apps.
The good news is you can still use your smartphone or tablet for all the same functions, even though the app is gone. From the State of California’s child support website, you can manage every detail of your account and payments right from your device.
Can I go after my ex-husband’s new wife for child support in CA?
No, you most likely can not go after your ex-husband’s new wife for child support in CA.
You see, California state law specifies that a new spouse is not responsible for child support in most cases. It is only in unique or extreme circumstances that the court would allow you to go after the new wife.
Suppose your ex-husband quits his job in an attempt to escape child support payments. And he is refusing job offers to make it look as though he truly has no income. But his new wife has an income.
Even in that scenario, the court would not expect his new wife to pay. Instead, the court will make an order for him to pay child support despite the claim of no income. Basically, any time someone tries to get clever or sneaky, the court can make exceptions to stop them.
Is CA child support based on gross or net income?
CA child support is based on your net disposable income, not gross. But the court uses your gross income to calculate this total.
You should also know that net disposable income to the court is very different from what you likely consider “net.” Only specific deductions are made, and they are not dollar for dollar.
Basically, the court starts with your gross annual income and subtracts specific deductions. The end result is your net disposable income, which is used to calculate your monthly payments. But this net amount will be quite different from what the IRS considers your net income on your annual taxes.
How to get out of paying child support in CA?
The only ways to get out of paying child support in CA are by:
- Proving the original child support agreement is not based on factual information (your spouse lied to the court to win a higher payment from you)
- Proving that your child and/or ex agree that your financial support is no longer needed
- Your child enrolling in the military, getting emancipated, or getting married
Here is the thing. California courts do not take kindly to people who try to escape paying child support. There is a litany of laws in place to stop you from hiding income or shirking your financial responsibility.
But as a specialist in family law, Erica Bansmer understands your position. You do not want to negatively impact the quality of your child’s life—you just need to make sure you can afford a roof over your own head, too.
We will work with you to unearth every relevant detail and protect you from an unfair agreement. Just call us at (209) 474-2400 for your consultation.