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California child support: Here’s what you need to know

All good parents in California and beyond consider the well-being of their children one of their highest priorities in life. Filing for divorce definitely has an impact on children, especially in situations where one parent was a sole provider. If the stay-at home parent is granted custody, child support may be a key issue in the proceedings.

Not every case results in only one parent paying child support. The court can order both parents to make monthly payment to cover expenses related to raising the children involved. Every state has its own guidelines regarding support, and the judge overseeing a particular case may use his or her discretion to determine whether payments are warranted and who will pay them, as well as how much, how often and through what means.

The court typically considers various factors before making child support decisions. Such factors include the income level of each parent. The court may also take into account the amount of time each parent spends with the children. If a child is already age 18 or over but has special needs, it may be an issue that would influence the court’s decision to order both parents to pay child support.

When a judge makes a child support ruling in a California court, both parents are legally obligated to adhere to the terms of the court order. If a non-paying parent believes more support is needed or a paying parent is having difficulty making payments, a formal petition must be filed to request a change. Parents are not free to simply veer from the written terms of the existing order; in fact, doing so may lead a judge to find a parent in contempt.