Child Support

Child Support

California has statutory guidelines used by the court to determine a child support award. It is important to have an attorney who can help navigate the process and protect the client’s interests and those of the children involved.

Child Support Factors

California law states that children are entitled to live at the same standard as the wealthier parent. Child support is usually determined by a state and/or county formula that takes multiple factors into account, including:

  • Number of children
  • Amount of time spent with each parent
  • Each parent’s income or earning potential
  • Cost of health insurance paid by the parents and additional financial obligations.
  • Tax filing status and deductions
  • Special hardship circumstances, such as high medical costs.

If parents cannot agree on the amount of child support, the court will evaluate the factors and make a ruling on which parent will pay, and the amount of the payment. The court has little discretion to vary the predetermined state/county formula for child support. However, the court has wide discretion to decide the figures that influence the dollar amount ordered. At Moradi Saslaw LLP, we will analyze financial information including assets and income of both parties to help you reach a fair child support figure.

Unlike spousal support, child support payments are not tax-deductible to the paying parent, nor taxable to the receiving parent. In some situations, a spouse or partner may be granted family support, which is a combination of child and spousal support. Family support is tax deductible, but must be paid according to certain rules specified by the Internal Revenue Code.

Modifications to Child Support

A child support order is modifiable if there has been a change in circumstances that affects the support owed, including:

  • A change in the amount of time the child spends with each parent.
  • A change in income, assets, or debts for either parent
  • Other changes in the child’s financial needs, such as medical expenses that were not present when the initial support order was made by the court.
  • Hardships suffered by either parent
  • Retirement of either party
  • Changes in tax filing status and deductions.

The duration of child support is usually a standard length of time. In most circumstances, child support will be terminated when the child marries, dies, reaches the age of eighteen years old (or nineteen if the child is still in high school and living with a parent), or is emancipated.

An experienced and diligent child support attorney can aid parents in navigating the complex statutory formula for child support. This is achieved through knowledge of the law and expertise in recognizing the important factors. With the right legal assistance, parties will get a child support order that correctly reflects the financial needs of each party and the needs of their children.