Child Support Law in Oceanside, California
What is child support?
When two parents choose to end the relationship by getting a divorce or separating, it’s important that any children involved still receive the support they need to thrive. But children need more than just emotional support. Whoever gains custody of the child or children will now have to shoulder the financial cost of raising a child without a partner.
Child support laws for cases in Oceanside, California aim to ensure that the children of divorce or separation still receive financial support from both parents. Even when a parent does not have regular contact with their child – if they haven’t legally surrendered their parental rights, then child support may still be ordered by a judge.
If you’re recently separated or divorced, you may have questions about where to turn next. Who gets child support and how much will they be expected to pay? That’s where an experienced California child support lawyer can help. At Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, a seasoned child support lawyer can help you understand the next steps to take to secure payments or to ensure you’re paying a fair share.
Who pays for child support?
While each state has a set of guidelines for determining who gets child support, a state judge has the final say on who is responsible for payments as well as the amount paid. In the state of California, the primary factors that judges base their decision on include the income of both parents, which parent spends the most time with the child (which parent has custody of the child), and which tax exemptions each parent is eligible for.
If there is one parent that has sole custody, then the non-custodial parent traditionally is responsible for paying child support. Of course, child support law is more complex than determining which parent spends the most time with the child or children involved.
Child support law does not require stepparents to financially support their stepchildren in case of separation or divorce. However, if the stepparent has legally adopted their stepchildren and terminated the rights of the biological parent, then they then have legal responsibility to support the child or children involved.
Whether you’ve received a request to pay child support or you’d like the non-custodial parent to begin supporting their child financially, it’s in your best interest to call a family law attorney. A child support lawyer who knows California child support law can help ensure your side of the story is heard during trial.
Joint Custody Scenarios
Determining which parent is responsible for child support is partially based on who clearly spends more time with the child than the other. But when both parents have joint custody, deciding who pays for child support becomes more complex.
In these cases, there are two determining factors a family law judge can refer to. This includes the percentage each parent contributed to their joint income. The more income a parent contributes, the more financial support they are expected to pay in the form of child support. A judge may also consider the percentage of time the parents involved have the child within their physical custody. If the child or children involved primarily live with one parent, then the court will assume that parent is the most burdened by the daily costs of raising a child or multiple children.
Even with these factors in mind, the final decision in a joint custody child support case isn’t concrete. You want to be sure that you receive the financial support you deserve or that you’re not taken advantage of by the system. Let a professional child support lawyer help. The experienced child support attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, have the know-how needed to protect your interests from day one of your child support case in Oceanside, CA.
Previously Unmarried Parents
Child support law becomes more complex when it comes to children with unmarried parents. While many of the same factors for determining responsibility apply (including who the child lives with, the income of each parent, and the ability of each parent to make payments), another factor to consider is paternal law.
As part of federal welfare reform legislation, as of January 1, 1997, if the parents of a child are not legally married, the father’s name is not automatically added to the birth certificate. The only exception is if a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity form is signed by both parents at the hospital following birth or at a later date to establish paternity without the need to bring the issue to court. Once this form is signed, the child has the same rights as any child born within a marriage, including the financial support of both parents.
When the paternity of a child is not acknowledged by the father involved, then paternity needs to be determined before a court will decide that child support is due to the custodial parent.You cannot receive financial child support until paternity is established. Once you open a case with your local Oceanside child support agency, they’re able to help you file for a court order for genetic testing.
Once paternity is established, an experienced family law attorney will be able to help you file a child support order.
How much will I pay or receive for child support?
California child support payments are based on a formula that takes the following into account:
- The net disposable income of each parent
- Tax liabilities for each parent
- The ability of each parent to pay
- The current custody arrangement
- The number of children in need of financial support
- Whether a parent is currently supporting children from another relationship
- The child’s health care or insurance expenses
- Any relevant costs such as daycare and travel expenses
When deciding your child support payment case, the judge will also consider whether your child has special needs – including physical or mental disabilities.
In addition to which parent has primary custody, one of the major contributing factors to determine the amount of child support due is the parent’s income. In court, income can be identified as any of the following:
- Wages & Tips
- Commissions or Bonuses
- Self-employment earnings
- Disability payments
- Social Security benefits
- Unemployment benefits
- Workers’ compensation
- Veteran’s benefits
- Interest & Annuities
- Veteran’s benefits
- Retirement benefits (both private or government)
This means that even if one is the custodial parent, if they have a higher income, more financial resources available to them, or more familial support than the other party involved, then the non-custodial parent may not have to pay as much in child support.
More than just the income of the parent liable for paying child support, the court takes into account the quality of life and the cost of raising a child in a particular area. If your child in Oceanside, CA is accustomed to a high standard of living or if you live in an area with a higher cost of living, then the court will consider these factors when making their final decision. This is to ensure the child can maintain the same standard of living, enjoying the same quality of food, housing, clothing, transportation,and education
How long does child support last?
In the state of California, child support law states that a parent is obligated to provide financial support until the child reaches the age of 18. Under certain special circumstances, such as the child is unmarried or attending high school full time at the age of 19, this obligation can be extended.
If there was a period of time in which the parent responsible for paying child support have past due payments owed, then your local child support agency may continue to collect payments until the case is paid in full.
Can you change child support payments?
Though it requires legal action, it is possible to change your child support payments in certain circumstances. If you’re paying child support and you’ve increased the amount of time the child is in your custody, recently lost your job, or have a new job with reduced pay, then you may be able to reduce your child support payments.
Backed by a knowledgeable child support attorney, you can contact your local support agency in Oceanside and ask the court to modify their order. If you’ve recently taken on custody of the child, or the custodial parent recently receive an increase in income, you may be able to reduce your payment or even begin receiving support from the other parent.
Contact Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP today to see if you can modify your child support court order or reduce your payments.
What if the non-custodial parent isn’t paying what’s owed?
Not receiving the child support you’re due? You should reach out to a local Oceanside child support lawyer immediately. Armed with your court documents that state the payment amount and schedule, as well as a record of payments received, a child support lawyer can help you prove that the non-custodial parent isn’t making their child support payments.
Raising a child is hard enough without facing the financial burden of parenting on your own. Get the financial help you need with assistance from a seasoned child support lawyer. By federal law, state agencies are required to help you collect child support payments from the non-custodial parent. In partnership with these agencies, we can help you collect unpaid child support.
What if the custodial parent isn’t allowing visitation?
Following a divorce or separation, the relationship between the former partners can be complex – especially if there are children involved. It may seem like fair retaliation to withhold child support payments if the custodial parent stops allowing visitation. Beyond being potentially harmful to your child, it’s illegal to refuse to pay child support.
If you’re allowed visitation according to a court order, then the best decision you can make is to reach out to a child support attorney. An experienced legal expert can ensure the custody and visitation agreement is enforced.
What are the consequences of not paying child support?
Once the court has decided that you’re financially responsible for paying child support, it’s illegal for you to refuse to send payment. If you’re unable to make payments, it’s paramount that you let the court know immediately. If you don’t notify the court and become delinquent in your child support payments, some potential consequences of making this decision includes:
- Wage garnishment
- Property seizure
- Suspension of your business license
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Tax refund interception
- Jail time
- Cannot be issued a passport (for past-due payments in excess of $2,500)
You may already be facing the consequences of withholding child support payments. If so, there are actions you can take to get back on the right step. Once your driver’s license has been suspended, you can reach out to your local child support agency to start taking steps to reverse this effect. In the state of California, the only way to be issued a passport with delinquent payments in excess of $2,500 is to pay your balance down to $0.00.
If you’re not making your payments because you’re financially unable to, reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. We can help you avoid these consequences by presenting your case to a judge so they can modify your child support order.
Contact Us for a Child Support Consultation
Whether you’re a struggling single parent in need of financial support from your former spouse, or you want to ensure you’re paying your fair share when it comes to raising your child, a child support lawyer can fight for you. With a vast knowledge of California child support law, the attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP in Oceanside are able to advise you every step of the way, ensuring you know what lies ahead in your case and what you can expect when it’s time to face the court.
For aggressive representation during your child support case, contact Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP of Oceanside, California, for a consultation.