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San Diego Attorneys Helping People in Child Support Matters
Raising a child is increasingly expensive, and few people have the resources to independently provide for all of a child’s needs. As such, when the parents of a child do not live together, it is common for one parent to seek financial support from their co-parent to assist in raising a child. An action for child support can affect the rights of both parents and of the child, and it is critical for anyone involved in a child support matter to seek legal counsel. If you need assistance with a child support matter, the proficient San Diego family law attorneys of Doppelt and Forney APLC will assertively advocate on your behalf to help you protect your rights. We regularly assist people with child support matters and other family law disputes in San Diego.California Child Support Guidelines
In California, all parents are obligated to provide financial support for their children. Typically, a request for child support will arise out of a divorce action or by the filing of an application for child support. California has comprehensive guidelines that dictate how support should be calculated.
In implementing the guidelines, the courts should keep in mind that the parents’ first and foremost obligation is to support their child. Further, the obligation is mutual, based on each parent’s income, time with the child, and ability to provide support, in conjunction with the child’s best interest.
Under the guidelines, the child support amount should equal the amount of both parents' income that should be allotted for child support. The amount that is deemed an appropriate allotment is based on the higher-earning parent’s net disposable income per month, the approximate amount of time that the higher-earning parent has physical responsibility of the child, and the total net income of both parents.Child Support and Child Custody
In California, there is a direct relationship between custody, visitation, and child support. Specifically, the more time a parent spends with a child, the greater the costs associated with raising the child becomes. In other words, the amount of time each parent spends with a child impacts their support obligation or right to support.Deviation From Child Support Guidelines
There is a rebuttable presumption that the amount of support dictated by the guidelines is appropriate. Thus, if the Court deviates from the guidelines, it must set forth a written justification for the deviation. Factors that would justify a deviation from the guidelines include a stipulation between the parties to a different amount of support, the sale of the family home has been deferred and the rental value of the home where the child resides is greater than the mortgage payments, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance, and a parent not contributing to the child’s needs a level that corresponds to their custodial time.
The court may also allow a deviation if the support obligation under the guidelines would be inappropriate or unjust due to the specific circumstances of the case, including a variation in the time-sharing arrangements for different children, children with special needs, including medical needs, that require greater support, children with more than two parents, and a vast difference between the percentage of a parent’s income used for housing in cases in which the parents have substantially equal time-sharing.Duration of Child Support Obligations
In most cases, parents have an obligation to provide financial support for their children until the child turns eighteen. If the child’s eighteenth birthday occurs when they are still in high school, though, child support obligations will extend until the child completes twelfth grade or graduates from high school. A child support obligation will also end if the child becomes legally emancipated, marries, dies, or joins the military. If a child is deemed disabled, the Court may order the parents to pay child support even after the child reaches adulthood.
In addition to requiring support in the form of monetary payments, a Court may impose an obligation in a support order to pay travel expenses associated with transporting the child from one parent’s home to the other, medical expenses, educational costs, and any other special needs the child may have.
While child support obligations typically last until a child reaches the age of majority, that does not mean that the amount owed is permanent. Instead, either the parent paying support or the parent receiving support can seek a modification. The Courts will only grant a modification if the moving party demonstrates that it is warranted, however. In other words, they must show that a significant change in circumstances occurred that necessitates an alteration of the obligation. Changes that may be sufficient grounds for changing a support obligation include an increase or decrease in either parent’s income, a change in the health of either parent or the child, or increased costs associated with the child’s care or education.Speak With a Seasoned San Diego Family Law Attorney
While all parents must provide for their children, many parents do not agree on the amount of financial support required to care for a child and turn to the Courts to determine a suitable support obligation. If you are in the process of ending your marriage or relationship with your child’s co-parent, it is prudent to speak with an attorney to discuss whether your options for seeking a child support arrangement that appropriately provides for your child’s needs. At Doppelt and Forney APLC, our seasoned family law attorneys are adept at helping people seek a fair outcome in child support disputes, and we will work diligently to help you seek the best result available under the facts of your case. We regularly represent people in family law matters in San Diego and in cities throughout Southern California. You can contact us via our form online or by calling us at 800-769-4748 to set up a free and confidential meeting.