Supporting your child is something you do as a loving parent, probably without thinking about it. Once you and your child's other parent divorce, however, you may be very concerned about your rights and responsibilities regarding child support. Whether you expect to pay child support or to receive it, it is important to understand how California child support laws will affect you and your child.
A brief overview cannot begin to fully address the complexities of California child support law, but can give you an overview of the factors that California courts consider relevant when making child support determinations.
California considers parents' first and foremost obligation to be the support of their child. The state views this obligation as a mutual one. It is based on each parent's ability to pay, their income, and the amount of time each spends with the child, as consistent with the best interests of the child.
Child support is determined in part on the principle that a child should share in the standard of living of both parents. Accordingly, receiving child support may improve the standard of living of a custodial parent as doing so will improve the child's standard of living. Though child support is paid for the benefit of the child, it may have the effect of reducing disparity between the parents' standard of living. It is acknowledged that, as compared to other states, the cost of living in California is high; California child support orders typically reflect this reality.
California child support laws presume that if one parent has primary custody/parenting time, he or she already devotes significant financial resources to caring for the child. However, this is a rebuttable presumption, meaning that if the other parent has evidence that this is not the case, it can be presented for the court's consideration.
California determines child support awards based on statutory guidelines. These guidelines are intended to reduce conflict and litigation over child support issues. These guidelines, while helpful, are not strictly formulaic, and the family court judge makes the ultimate decision on the amount of child support that will be paid.
Depending on your child's age at the time of your divorce or separation, child support could go on for many years, well over a decade. A skilled family law attorney can make a difference in your child support determination that could really add up in the months and years ahead. An experienced California child support attorney is an investment in your future and that of your child.
At Comstock & Wagner, divorce and family law, including child support, are all we do. Our attorneys are California board-certified family law specialists who have demonstrated broad-based and comprehensive experience in the practice of family law, in addition to meeting other stringent certification requirements. Our child support attorneys can identify and present the relevant information in your child support matter so that the child support determination is fair to you and your child.
We assist clients with a variety of child-support related issues, including initial child support determinations and motions for modification of support in the event their financial circumstances have changed. We also work with clients whose co-parent has irregular income or when there are concerns about a parent concealing income in order to reduce child support.
Comstock & Wagner is conveniently located in a private building with off-street parking near the courthouse in Santa Maria. The firm represents clients throughout the central coast of California, including Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo.
If you have questions about California child support, we invite you to contact Comstock & Wagner to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.