Child Support Attorney in Los Angeles, CA
Child Support in California
In situations where parents are not together, such as single parents or divorce scenarios, one parent may be ordered to make a monthly financial payment to help cover the cost of the minor child. This payment is known as child support, and remains a key facet of family law.
These payments are meant to cover key expenses for children, including those related to clothing, food, and shelter, up until the child turns 18. However, support payments can also include funds to cover additional costs, such as those related to education – private school, tutors, etc. – as well as travel expenses to cover transporting the child between parents.
Typically, the parent that spends the most amount of time with the child – often referred to as a custodial parent – is the one who receives child support payments. This is mostly due to existing law, which assumes that custodial parents spend money directly on the child.
Although it is typically the non-custodial parent who makes child support payments, a court can order both parents to make support payments. It is important to note that this depends on the situation.
How Is Child Support Determined?
In order to determine child support, the state of California has established guidelines – a calculator of sorts – that examine a number of factors. In addition to considering both parents’ incomes, state law takes into account:
- The number of children in need of support payments
- The existing time-sharing arrangement
- Tax liabilities for both parents
- Whether or not a parent pays child support for children from a previous relationship
- Health insurance expenses for the child
- Any mandatory financial contributions by the parents
- Job-related expenses
- Other relevant costs
Relevant costs can include those related to healthcare, including vision and dental, as well as child care costs necessary to advance the parents’ education, employment or training.
Although child support payments are typically established and ordered by a judge, it is possible for parents to come to a support agreement without an official court order. However, any court ordered support is calculated using the same calculations outlined by state statutes.
Can Child Support Be Amended?
Even if a child support order is already in place, it does not necessarily mean that it is set in stone. In certain cases, including those where the ordered support falls below the legal guidelines, a parent may petition for a modification.
A modification may also be granted in cases where there is a significant change in time-sharing or financial circumstances. For example, support payments typically go up when a parent’s percentage of time-sharing goes down.
It is also possible to petition for a modification in the event of unemployment, or in situations where they are newly required to support another child.
If you or someone you love are dealing with child support issues, including establishing, modifying or enforcing a support order, it is in your best interest to enlist the legal guidance of a skilled family law attorney.
Family Law Assistance in Los Angeles
In Los Angeles and the other communities across Southern California, Whitmarsh Family Law, PC serves as a leading resource for those dealing with family law-related matters, including those involving child support orders. Whether you are working towards a support agreement, or dealing with a modification or enforcement issue, our team of dedicated attorneys can provide the advice and guidance you need.
We understand that family-related matters can be quite sensitive, and that they can be incredibly stressful as well. Let us work with you to ensure that your family’s needs and interests are protected. To schedule a preliminary consultation to evaluate your case, call Whitmarsh Family Law, PC at (310) 552-3505.