Establishing or modifying a child support arrangement can be a complicated and frustrating process. Since both parents have a duty to support the child, it is vital that they work together to come up with an arrangement that is in the child’s best interest. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, as personal or legal issues can create tension during litigation.
The Law Office of Karen S. Brown is dedicated to helping clients ensure that the rights of their children are protected and that parents are able to meet the needs of their children. Attorney Karen Brown has extensive experience and a profound understanding of financial matters and how they relate to child support. Ms.Brown proudly represents clients in counties throughout Southern California including Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, and San Bernardino.
California Family Code sections 4050-4076 outlines the guidelines for child support. According to the Code:
The parent’s primary obligation is to support the child.
Both parents are mutually responsible for child support.
The court considers each parent’s income and level of financial responsibility.
The interest of the child is the court’s top responsibility.
The custodial parent will likely assume a significant portion of the child support responsibility.
Failure to provide child support will result in one or more legal penalties.
In establishing child support, the court will generally appoint a custodial parent and a non-custodial parent.
Custodial Parent - A custodial parent is a parent with whom the child will spend the majority of their time. As such, they assume a large share of the day-to-day responsibilities for the child. The rights of the custodial parent vary depending on how the court divides physical and legal responsibilities between each parent.
Non-Custodial Parent - A non-custodial parent does not have physical custody of their child according to the decision of the court. Although the non-custodial parent does not have primary custody of the child, they may still have equal legal custody rights, which includes making decisions on behalf of the child.
In California, child support ends once the child turns 18 years. If the child is still in high school at the age of 18, child support ends when the child graduates or turns 19, whichever comes first.
The courts consider the following financial deductions or other items when calculating child support:
Number of children that need support
Percentage of time spent with the child
Available income tax deductions
Child’s health insurance
Mandatory payroll deductions
Child care costs
If a parent tries to artificially reduce their income, the court may add imputed income. Imputed income is income that the court credits or attributes to the parent even though the parent is not actually earning the imputed amount. A judge will impute income to ensure that the child’s financial needs are met. It keeps a parent from neglecting their financial responsibility.
Once a child support order is established, a parent can request a modification to those orders if they can demonstrate that there has been a significant change in circumstances that affects their financial situation. Examples of circumstance that may qualify include:
Changes in income
Loss of employment
Birth of a child from another relationship
Changes in time spent with the child
Changes in the child’s needs
If both parents agree to the modification, it is left up to the court to approve the request. If both parents do not agree to the modification, the claimant must file a motion with the court and request a modification. Both parents must follow the existing child support arrangement until the court approves the modification request.
The Law Office of Karen S. Brown provides experienced and comprehensive guidance in child support matters. She will fight for the rights of you and your child. Call today and get a free case review. Attorney Karen Brown is a Certified Legal Specialist in Family Law fiercely dedicated to serving clients and their children in Southern California.