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Irvine Child Support Attorneys

RM Law Group attorneysRegardless of whether or not a child’s parents are a couple, that child deserves to be financially supported by both parents. That’s where California Child Support Services steps in. The state’s guidelines specify how much child support parents should pay, how that child support should be calculated, and what happens if a parent falls behind.

If you are navigating divorce or attempting to get support from your child’s other parent, it’s time to learn more about your rights and obligations when it comes to child support.

The team of Irvine child support attorneys at RM Law Group can help you secure a fair child support order that meets your child’s needs. Call us at 866-706-3160 to set up a FREE consultation now, or reach out to us online and we will contact you.

How Child Support Works in California

Each state sets its own child support guidelines and calculations, so it’s important to talk to an Irvine child support attorney before assuming anything. While some states only account for the non-custodial parent’s income, other states factor in both parents’ income and assign each a portion that they owe. California uses both parents’ incomes in its formula, accounting for both their gross income and their disposable income. The amount owed is further affected by how much parenting time each parent has. Disposable income is calculated by subtracting an earner’s state and federal income taxes, health insurance premiums, and other court-ordered payments.

The formula is somewhat complicated, and on top of that, it’s common for parents to deviate from this number when negotiating a fair payment. As long as the agreement accommodates the child’s best interests, the Orange County Superior Court is likely to accept it.

Factors Affecting Child Support Orders

There are situations in which the standard formula may not result in a child support order that fits the parents’ or child’s needs. Situations that may warrant a different child support amount include:

  • An extremely high income that would lead to a child support payment far above what the child needs
  • Serious financial differences in housing or other necessary expenses
  • Children with significant special needs or medical needs
  • Extracurricular activities with expenses that should be split

Note that above all else, the child’s best interests come first. Even if child support may put one parent in a slightly more restrictive financial situation, the court will allow that if it allows them to support their children better. Note that the court will still not impose an order that causes extreme financial hardship to one parent.

What If the Paying Parent Refuses to Pay?

The court’s approach to a non-paying parent differs, depending on the circumstances. It’s not uncommon for a parent who expects to pay child support to quit their job or seek a lower-paying job to get out of paying child support. The court is no stranger to these tricks, and a judge can impute income. This means that child support is based on what the paying parent is capable of earning, not what they are actually earning at the moment.

If the parent remains employed and is simply not paying their court-ordered child support, that is a violation of the court order and they may be held in contempt. To attempt to force a parent to pay, the court may suspend the non-paying party’s driver’s license, revoke their passport, or seize their tax refunds to put toward their child support balance. Whenever they do begin payments again, they will also have to make payments on their arrears.

Seeking a Modification of Child Support

When circumstances change, requesting a child support modification may be time. If either parent’s income changes significantly, a modification can shift child support better to reflect the new financial needs of both parties. A modification may also be necessary if there has been a substantial change in parenting time, the child’s medical needs, or the child’s extracurricular activities or other expenses.

Furthermore, the court may give you credit in your child support order for other children you are raising. If you have additional children after a child support order is put in place, you may be able to request a modification. Note that the court doesn’t generally give credit for stepchildren.

Whether you’re negotiating child support as part of a divorce, seeking to establish a new child support order, or looking for a child support modification, let us help. We’ll look at the factors influencing your case and help you navigate your next steps.

Reach Out to Our Team of Experienced Child Support Lawyers Today and Get Your Questions Answered

When you’re ready to move forward with your child support case, the team of child support lawyers in Irvine at RM Law Group is here for you. Contact us online or call us at 866-706-3160 to schedule your free consultation now.