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Some Additional FAQ's About Child Custody in San Diego for 2012

While child custody arrangements are case-specific, it is still a gray area to a couple contemplating separation or divorce. Here are some frequently asked questions by parents in San Diego and their replies:

How Are Child Support Obligations Influenced by Custody Arrangements?

When sole physical or legal custody is awarded to one parent in a divorce, the other parent normally is ordered to make child support payments to the parent who has custody in the San Diego Superior Court under the child support guidelines. When joint physical custody is awarded to both parents in a divorce, how much money each of them earns, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child is what determines their support obligations. Under the current San Diego guidelines, there is an inverse relationship between the amount of child support and the percentage of the time share of each parent.

How Is Child Support Calculated by a San Diego Superior Court Judge?

Under the Child Support Enforcement Act, every state has established its own guiding principles in calculating the amount of child support to be paid by each parent depending on their earnings and expenses. These guidelines could vary considerably from state to state. In some states, Judges have significant discretion in determining the amount, as long as the decision falls within the framework established by the state. Some states are extremely stringent, leaving little discretion to Judges. If family law court in San Diego, the child support guidelines are calculated by a computer program called the Disso Master.

Irrespective of the autonomy provided to the Judges, the guidelines in most states stipulate certain factors to determine what amount is paid by each parent toward child support. Such factors will include:

  • number of children of the parties
  • percentage of time with the non custodial parent
  • tax filing status
  • number of federal exemptions
  • income from all sources
  • child and/or spousal support received or paid from another relationship
  • new spouse income
  • health insurance
  • interest and property tax and other itemized deductions
  • required union dues
  • mandatory retirement
  • legal obligation to support a child or children from another relationship

Both the divorcing spouses or parents if not married are required by the court to prepare financial statements which give a clear picture of his/her financial status before a child support decision is made. This statement must include the parent’s typical income and expenditures for the month and is called an Income and Expense Declaration.

Will the Court Decide Child Support on a Hypothetical Income I Am Able to Earn Rather Than What I Actually Earn?

In San Diego, the Judge will examine the difference in earnings, if any. Generally, child support is set on what the parent is actually earning, but if there is a huge discrepancy then the Judge could order an increase in the amount of child support if the Judge uses an earning ability and imputation of income rather than actual income. This is if the Judge believes the parent is capable of earning more than he/she chooses to do. There are various situations where such contingencies arise and this can be documented by a vocational evaluation or by evidence of job opportunities.

A Firm That Knows This Field

Doppelt and Forney, APLC is a San Diego family law firm with knowledge & experience in issues such as child custody, child support, visitation rights, and other family law issues. The dedicated firm offers a free in-person or virtual consultation of 30 minutes which helps you obtain a broad overview of your case.

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