Los Angeles Child Support Lawyer
Assisting Parents with Child Support Matters in Los Angeles County, California
If two parents get divorced or were never married and decide to part ways, one of the main legal issues will be that of child support. Child support is a court-ordered regular payment that one parent must pay to the other. Child support is justified because both parents have the responsibility to provide financial support for their children, whether or not they are married or even want to have a close relationship with their kids.
Child support orders can have a significant effect on the lives of both parents and of a child, as they can ensure that a parent can afford to cover the child’s basic needs. It is imperative that you ensure that any child support order is fair under your specific circumstances.
An experienced Los Angeles child support attorney at Furman & Zavatsky can review any child support order and negotiate with the other parent and the court if needed to reach a fair decision. See related: When Does Child Support End in California?
California Child Support Determinations
While parents often want to argue against child support, California law is fairly clear when child support should be awarded. The law sets out specific guidelines that take into consideration a number of factors, including:
- Parenting time of each parent
- Respective incomes
- Number of children who are being supported
- Tax arrangements regarding the children
- Expenses for a child’s health insurance
- Other expenses deemed relevant
A custodial parent who spends more time with the children tends to be the one to receive child support, though this can vary from case to case. For example, a significant income discrepancy (e.g. the custodial parent earns more than the non-custodial parent) can lead to a different arrangement. In some cases, a subpoena may be needed.
When all of the relevant information is entered into the California child support calculator, the resulting figure is presumed to be fair under the law. While courts often stay close to the formula, family law judges do have some discretion to alter the ordered amount of child support in justified circumstances. See related information: What Happens if You Lie about Your Finances in a Divorce?
One common situation in which a court may stray from the formula is when a judge believes that one parent is not working on purpose to avoid paying child support. In this situation, the court can impute the amount of income it believes that parent should be earning in order to reach a fair determination. A court may also stray from the formula in cases involving extreme wealth of one parent in order to preserve the standard of living of the child after a divorce.
Regardless of your circumstances, it is critical to have an attorney who understands California child support laws review any potential order, whether you are receiving or ordered to pay child support. In California, parents can’t waive child support responsibility, but can agree to a lesser amount.
An order that is too low can hinder the receiving parent’s ability to support the child, while an order that is too high can cause the paying parent to have unnecessary financial struggles. Contact a Los Angeles child support lawyer at our law firm for more information. You also need to know the steps to take to help pat your child’s college expenses in a divorce judgment.
Modifying Child Support
We all know that financial circumstances can change and a child support order that was once appropriate may no longer be fair. In this case, one parent may want to seek a modification of the child support order from the court that issued the initial order. When one spouse remarries in California, the remarriage does not directly impact any existing child support orders.
In order to obtain a modification, you generally have to demonstrate there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrants a modification. Some examples of substantial changes in circumstances include:
- Involuntary job loss or reduction in income of one parent;
- Significant increase in income of one parent;
- Changes in time-sharing and custody;
- Changes in the expenses of a child, including discovery of special needs;
- One parent having additional children with a different partner;
- Incarceration or incapacitation of a parent.
Contact Our Experienced Los Angeles Child Support Lawyers for Help
If you have any type of child support matter in California family court, you should not delay in contacting the dedicated child support attorneys at the law firm of Furman & Zavatsky. Our attorneys will represent you throughout the entire legal process and will protect your rights to a fair and appropriate child support determination under California law. We can also help with any other family law matters you are facing, so please call our office today for more information.