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The ins and outs of child support in California

There are numerous couples in California who will get divorced this year. If you are one of them and you have children to consider, you may have a lot of questions about how child support works.

Every state has different guidelines when it comes to child support, and these guidelines may change occasionally, so it is easy to get confused about how it all works. Common questions parents have often include who has to pay child support, how much they have to pay and for how long? Some may even want to know if the court can adjust child support if there is ever a need.

Who has to pay?

In California, one or both parents may have to pay child support. It all depends on the income level of you and your co-parent, how many children you share, any special needs the children have and the details of the final custody arrangement.

If one parent receives sole physical custody, then the non-custodial parent will likely have to pay support monthly -- which may be a substantial amount. If you and your ex reach a joint custody agreement, then both of you will likely be responsible for a certain amount of support each month.

How much support?

California looks at various sources of income when calculating the amount of child support awarded in any given case Some of these income sources include:

  • Wages
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Investments
  • Lottery winnings
  • Rental income
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses

After looking at your combined sources of income, a judge will consider monthly expenses that you will need to cover. These usually include insurance, child care, education expenses and extracurricular actives -- among various others.

Duration

Child support is typically ordered until a child reaches the age of 18 and has officially graduated from high school. However, it is possible to seek to end payments early if your child get married, joins the military or is legally emancipated. On the flip side, it is also possible to seek a child support extension if your child suffers from a mental or physical disability, is attending college or university, or simply demonstrates an economic need.

Seek support or an adjustment

Seeking child support is as simple as filling a request in court. Getting a fair support order, on the other hand, may not be that easy. It is okay to seek assistance when fighting for a child support order that works. If, after an order of support is written and put into action, a modification becomes necessary due to a change in fiscal circumstances or a child's needs, you can again seek legal assistance in order to file the appropriate motions in court.

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Law Office of Edward S. Matisoff
3625 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard
Suite 113
Westlake Village, CA 91362

Phone: 805-666-0980
Fax: 805-379-6722
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