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Laws often change in San Diego Superior Court in the Family Law Division. While most of the laws remain the same, there are two changes in 2019 which will be discussed in this article. Child support, whether married such as a legal separation or divorce, or unmarried, such as a paternity case, will be an order upon request of either parent. San Diego, as well as the remainder of California, orders child support per the “guideline”. The Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC has years of experience in representing client’s in child support hearings as well as other issues such a physical custody and legal custody and division of debts and assets. Their phone number is 800-769-4748.
The first change to be discussed is in Family Law Code Section 4058 and deals with earning capacity. In many family law cases, one parent believes that the other parent is now working to their full earning capacity for many reasons. There is a provision in the Family Law Code, Section 4331, which authorizes a Court to order a Vocational Evaluation upon proper request. After Court approval, or agreement of the parents for the Vocational Evaluation, a person is selected with the mandatory credentials [education and training and experience and degrees] who will conduct an evaluation and give an earning ability. If one parent is not working and has no income and states they cannot find a job, this strategy will allow the Judge to make an order based on ability and not actual income. The former version of this Code allowed the Judge to consider the ability to earn, in their discretion, consistent with what the best interests of the child or children were. This Code has been revised to add that the Court, again in its discretion, can take into account not only the past Code content but also the parenting time that is spent with the children or child as well as the developmental needs and welfare overall.
The second change has to do with termination of child support obligation. The former law was that the legal obligation of a parent was child support if the child was unmarried until the age of eighteen years old as well as a full time high school student or nineteen years of age and this was whichever occurred first. The Code revision modifies so that child support would continue even if not a full time student after 18 years old if a physician documents that a medical condition prevents attendance full time at high school.
Feel free to call the Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC for a no obligation virtual consultation in their office up to one half hour. The free in-person or virtual consultation is with an Attorney who is licensed in California and has experience in family law. At the consultation, upon request, a calculation can be printed out of what child support would be per California law under the guidelines. This can be very valuable in deciding whether or not to file a motion for child support and, if a motion is filed, whether to settle or litigate.