Overview of California Child Support Laws
When you are getting divorced and have a child, or children, one of the key issues that will be decided is child support. A judge analyzes child support in relation to the other critically important issue, child custody. For example, if you are granted full custody of your child, then a judge will likely order your spouse to pay child support so you can handle the financial obligations associated with raising a child.
Child Support Laws in California are Unique
Child support laws in California are unique and vary greatly when compared to alimony laws in other states. For example, California courts adhere to a specific set of guidelines to determine the amount of child support that will be ordered.
California Family Code Section 4053 governs the allocation of child support in California. You should know that both parents are responsible for providing financial support to the development and progress of their child, or children. In certain instances, one parent will be ordered to provide more financial support than the other parent, but it is generally based on what is in the best interests of your child, or children.
How Child Support is Calculated
The guidelines governing the allocation of child support include the following:
- The determination made on the issue of child custody.
- The number of children involved in your divorce
- Your income
- Your spouse’s income
- Your child’s healthcare expenses
- Your child’s education expenses
Whether you or your spouse are currently supporting a child from a prior relationship
What Happens When You or Your Spouse Does Not Work and Has No Income
If one parent did not work and has not earned taxable income in a number of years, there is a very good chance that the other parent will be ordered to provide a larger amount of child support to ensure their child maintains their standard of living.
What Happens If Your Spouse Suddenly Quits Their Job and Claims to Have No Income?
There are instances when a parent will try to avoid paying child support by quitting their job and/or reducing their hours in a concerted effort to limit their exposure to a larger child support order. However, judges in California are empowered to “impute” income to the parent who engages in these deceptive actions.
Parents Can Negotiate an Amicable Child Support Order
It is important to know that parents have the opportunity to reach an amicable agreement when it comes to child support. Once an agreement is reached, it will be submitted to the judge for review and approval. However, it is important to ensure that your child support agreement contains the following information:
- The parents expressly state that they understand their legal rights
- Neither parent was forced or coerced to enter into the support agreement
- The parents believe that the support agreement is in the best interest of their child, or children
If the court finds that the child support agreement contains an amount that is in fact in best interest of your child, or children, it will approve the agreement and issue a child support order.
Have Questions About Your Rights and Obligations Related to Child Support?
If you have questions about your legal rights and obligations pertaining to child support, Castro Law Offices is ready and able to help.
Castro Law Offices is a premier California law firm specializing in child support issues, divorce, child custody, and all other issues concerning domestic relations. Castro Law Offices is based in Novato, California, but is ready and able to provide legal services and advice to clients in and around Marin County including Novato, San Rafael, Greenbrae, San Anselmo, Fairfax, Sausalito, Larkspur, West Marin, Ross, Mill Valley and Corte Madera. Contact Castro Law Offices today to schedule a confidential consultation.