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California Child Support Court Orders

San Diego Family Law Lawyers Helping People Navigate Custody and Divorce Actions

Child support is a critical issue that arises in many custody disputes involving minor children. In San Diego, a parent must support their child, generally until the child reaches the age of adulthood. However, child support orders are not set in stone and can be modified due to changes in parental income as well as many other factors such as timeshare. If you are subject to a child support order, it is important to understand the circumstances under which child support can be modified and the factors considered in determining child support. The capable San Diego child support lawyers at Doppelt and Forney, APLC, have ample experience helping parents protect their interests in proceedings relating to California child support court orders, and if you hire us, we will work on your behalf to get the best possible result. We offer free in-person or virtual consultations for parents seeking legal guidance on child support issues, or other family law matters during a divorce.

California Child Support Court Orders

In California, parents have a duty to provide financial support for their children. Typically, emancipation occurs when a child reaches the age of majority, which in California is 18, or when the child graduates from high school, but children can be emancipated earlier in certain circumstances. Parents can also voluntarily agree to provide financial support for their children beyond their emancipation. Notably, parents must support their children financially regardless of whether there is a disparity between the parents in terms of finance or either parent remarries. The amount of child support a parent owes is calculated using a specific formula defined by California law.

When parents are not married and do not live together, the Courts may issue orders imposing child support obligations. The formula the Courts used to determine an appropriate support obligation considers various factors, including each parent's income, the number of children that require support, the time spent with the non-custodial parent, spousal support from other marriages, child support from other relationships, union dues, mandatory retirement benefits, and health insurance costs. The child support calculation and amount is the same whether the parents were married or not.

California Child Support Court Orders Modifications

Child support orders can be modified to “guideline” upon request of either party. Normally, this would mean some change from when the order was initially entered. Some common examples of substantial changes include job loss, job promotion or demotion, illness, injury, or disability of a parent or child, incarceration of a parent, changes in custody arrangements, and alterations in factors affecting the calculation of support.

It is essential to understand that neither parent can unilaterally depart from the support order, even in cases of sudden events like job loss when they lack the funds necessary to provide support. Formal court intervention and approval are generally required for modifications, even if both parents agree to a specific modification.

Seeking Modification of California Child Support Court Orders

Parents facing a significant change in circumstances should take immediate action to seek a child support modification. Waiting too long may have adverse consequences on the parent's financial situation, especially if a temporary job loss lasts longer than expected or a new job pays less than the previous one. Remember, you must continue to pay the court ordered child support amount until changed by a Court Order. Many persons think that their loss of job automatically means they do not have to pay the child support amount but this is not correct. This is why it is very important to file a motion to modify as soon as you know of employment termination.

However, obtaining a downward modification might not be possible if a parent voluntarily takes a lower-paying job for reasons such as reduced stress, better hours, or personal interest. The court expects parents to meet their child support obligations and might even impute income to a parent if it appears that they are not earning at their full capacity.

Before you file for child support or for modification of a child support order in San Diego Family Law or DCSS Court, it is critical to analyze the support amount first. There is an online program which is free of charge which can help you to do this or you can have an attorney perform the calculations for you:


Speak to an Experienced San Diego Child Support Attorney

If you need assistance understanding California child support court orders or seeking a modification, it is crucial to seek advice from an attorney regarding your options and likely outcomes. The experienced San Diego family law attorneys Doppelt and Forney, APLC, are proficient at handling disputes over child support, and we are well-equipped to assess your situation, advocate for your rights, and help you achieve the best possible outcome in your child support case. Our office is located in San Diego, and we regularly represent people in family law actions in cities throughout San Diego County. You can contact us through our online form or at 800-769-4748 to schedule a confidential and free consultation.

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