Corona Child Support Attorney

Divorce is a tough, stressful journey to get through, often filled with frustration and sadness. In addition to reflecting on your marriage and planning for your future without your spouse, you have to consider what raising your child will look like, including not just child custody and visitation but also navigating the process of establishing child support. A Corona child support attorney can help you understand how support is determined, when it can change, and what it includes.

At the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey, divorcing parents can find reassurance in the legal counsel and guidance of an experienced family lawyer. Our attorneys can also help you manage the process of numerous other family law matters, including divorce mediation, property division, spousal support, and more.

Corona Child Support Attorney

How Is Child Support Filed?

In the state of California, there are two ways a parent can seek a child support arrangement. Typically, determining child support is addressed along with other divorce proceedings; parents may determine their support agreement either in an alternative resolution method such as mediation, where both parties work with a mediator or family attorney to create an agreement, or the child support order will be decided by a judge in court.

It’s also possible to file for child support by initiating a case with the California Child Support Services (CCSS); you may choose this option if you and your spouse are choosing to separate, temporarily or permanently, but want a support plan in place while the two of you are not taking other legal action. Whether during a legal separation, divorce filing, or filing through CCSS, child support orders are initiated by filing a Request for Order.

Filing with the CCSS may take longer to finalize the child support order than handling the agreement with the court. There is the option to file a request for child support with the court on your own and without the need to file for divorce, but this can prove to be difficult. Child support laws are complex, and you won’t want to make a mistake with your support agreement since it may take extra time to get it resolved.

A family lawyer can help you choose the right approach for your situation and then aid you with the filing. They can also support you during the entire proceedings to ensure you understand what is being discussed and that your wants or needs are being heard.

What to Expect During Child Support Legal Proceedings

A child support order usually follows the child custody agreement determined in divorce proceedings. During their respective arguments on how child custody and support should be conducted, the judge will hear the goals and preferences of both parents.

If the child is old enough to adequately express their wishes, the judge may also ask them what they would prefer regarding the custody arrangement and take this into consideration. During the legal proceedings for both child custody and the accompanying support agreement, the judge will take many elements into account, but ultimately, all decisions are made with the child’s best interests as the primary determining factor.

In Corona, California, once custody has been decided, child support will follow. Each parent’s legal representation provides a case for their thoughts regarding child support with evidence and necessary documentation regarding each parent’s financial standing, employment situation, and other sources of income. Why they are equipped to pay child support or why receiving support payments is needed will also be discussed.

In addition to the annual income of each parent, the judge will also consider:

  • The number of children covered by the support order
  • The child’s healthcare needs
  • Costs of childcare
  • The percentage of time it’s expected the child will spend with each parent
  • Any special needs or medical conditions of the child

How Child Support Payment Amounts Are Calculated

Typically, the parent awarded more time with their child (majority custody) or given full legal custody will be the spouse receiving child support payments from the parent who has fewer custody rights. Generally, the less time the parent who yields more income spends with their child, the more they will be required to pay in child support.

If the custodial parent is the higher-earning spouse, the other parent will likely not be expected to pay a significant amount for each support installment; if the lower-earning spouse is the custodial parent, they are likely to receive larger child support payments. In instances of equal joint custody between parents, the higher-earning spouse will be expected to pay child support in the majority of cases.

California child support guidelines follow a standard formula when calculating the exact amount of the payment installments, taking into account the gap between each parent’s income, although the formula is not exact. The formula only provides an estimation; thus, no decisions should be made on the basis of this estimate, nor should the estimation influence your goals regarding custody when going into legal proceedings.

The support formula for one child is CS = K (HN – (H%) (TN)). This breaks down to mean that child support (CS) is roughly equal to the combined income of both parents that is devoted solely to child support (K), multiplied by another value (HN – (H%) (TN)). K refers to the sum of each parent’s gross income before tax deduction and has its own formula to calculate its value.

H%, how much of the time the higher-earning parent is expected to be responsible for the child, is subtracted from HN, how much monthly disposable income the higher-earning parent has; the resulting number is then multiplied by TN, the monthly disposable income of both parents combined. The formula functions differently when calculating support for multiple children. It’s wise to consult with a family lawyer who’s experienced in child support matters for assistance.

Penalties for Failure to Provide Child Support

Not paying child support on time, or at all, is very serious, as you are technically breaching the terms of your legally enforceable support order. This means that if you are not adhering to what the court has demanded of you– including not paying the full monthly payment, paying late, or failing to provide missing payments –you can face harsh penalties under the law. These penalties can include:

  • Jail time
  • Costly fines
  • Potentially having your parental rights reduced

The court will use all resources to ensure that the owed child support is collected; this may be done by garnishing your wages, seizing your tax refunds, or holding you in contempt of court. When the court holds you in contempt, ordering you to appear before the court, you have the option to prove why you should not be held in contempt.

If you effectively explain your situation, the judge may decide to have your support order amended or temporarily paused under certain circumstances, but if you are found to be otherwise able to pay child support and have simply failed to do so, the judge can order you to be taken into court custody and held in jail until you can resolve the child support debt.

Can a Child Support Agreement Be Amended?

It is possible to request that your current child support agreement be modified, whether you’re the providing parent who believes you should be paying less or the custodial parent who thinks the payment installments are insufficient. You may choose to file with the court for the order to be amended by yourself or with the help of a family attorney. Either way, a formal Request for Order form will need to be filed with the court of the area you or the co-parent reside in.

The other parent will then need to be served a copy of the request along with other necessary documents. A court hearing will be scheduled to determine if a change to your current child support terms is reasonable, during which you will need to provide evidence supporting your argument for a modification. The judge will determine if the request is to be granted based on what is presented. If approved, the judge will proceed to create a new, suitable support order.

There are several reasons you or your co-parent may request that your child support agreement be amended, such as if one of you has recently lost or gained a source of income or some other change in circumstances.

Child support typically lasts until the child is 18 or 19 years old or when they have graduated from high school. You must file a request to end the court order, but if there are other minor children who still receive support, you will likely need to file a request that your support agreement be modified.

Benefits of Having a Child Support Lawyer in California

You are not required by law to hire a family attorney for your child support case, but it is generally a recommended choice to make considering the numerous advantages. A child support lawyer is there to ensure your case is conducted fairly and that your interests are effectively represented during the proceedings. Family law professionals are also experienced in negotiating compromises and solutions that work for both parties, as the goal is typically to maintain an amicable family dynamic.

Additionally, your family law attorney can assist you in the event you need to modify the terms of your child support order, whether there’s an unexpected medical expense for the child or the circumstances of one parent have changed, necessitating an amendment to the agreement. Your attorney is also there to help you in case your co-parent or ex-spouse is breaching the terms of the court order, and taking legal action is required to enforce the agreement.

FAQs

Q: How Much Does a Child Support Lawyer Cost in California?

A: Child support lawyers, who are trained to handle all family law matters, will typically differ in how much they charge for their services. How experienced your family law attorney is will have some bearing on their rates, including whether they charge an hourly fee, require a retainer fee, or offer a flat fee for simple cases. How complex your issue is and the time it takes to resolve it also has an impact on the cost.

Q: How to Change or End Child Support in California?

A: If your child is no longer a minor and has finished high school, you must file a motion to end the support agreement. To modify your support order because circumstances have changed or to remove an adult from a multi-child agreement, you must file a request with the court. During a hearing, the judge is shown evidence of why the filing parent believes the order should be changed, which they will either deny or approve. If necessary, the judge will draft a new support agreement.

Q: What Happens if My Co-Parent Doesn’t Pay Child Support in California?

A: If your co-parent isn’t paying according to your support agreement, you can bring the issue to the attention of the court, which regards it very seriously. It may be requested that the co-parent appear before the court to explain why they’re not paying; if it’s because of an unexpected medical expense, job loss, etc., the support order may be temporarily paused or modified. Otherwise, they may be held in contempt and remanded to jail or face other penalties until the debt is resolved.

Q: How Much Child Support for One Child in California?

A: For one child, the approximate estimate is CS = K (HN – (H%) (TN)), meaning child support equals K multiplied by (HN – (H%) (TN)). K must be calculated, representing the combined annual contribution each parent spends supporting their child. HN is the monthly disposable income of the higher-earning parent, and H% is the percent of the time that the parent takes care of the child; the difference between these values is multiplied by TN, the combined monthly disposable income of both parents.

Speak With a Qualified Family Law Attorney About Your Child Support Case

Our team of professionals at the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey is dedicated to helping families from all walks of life understand the family law issues they’re facing and then make informed decisions. Contact our offices today to speak with a compassionate family lawyer about your case.

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