If you’ve recently divorced or are in the process of divorcing with children, it’s essential to come to an agreement with your spouse on child support that’s fair to both parties and keeps the best interest of the child at heart. Even though California has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country (in 2019, there were 6.5% of divorced women per 1,000 married individuals), it doesn’t mean the effects of divorce on a family are any less real. If you’re unsure of how to calculate payments, how much support you deserve, or how to ensure it gets paid on time, our firm can help.
Divorcing with children is a difficult and stressful time under the best of circumstances, and you have to make sure your kids have the emotional and financial support they need. To decrease stress and ensure equanimity, you may decide it’s best to have an experienced child support lawyer on your side to work through the details. If you live in Los Angeles, Riverside, or San Bernardino County, I can help you make sense of this difficult time.
California has its own set of criteria for determining child support, and at first glance, the calculations can seem daunting. At Eugene F. Cristiano, Attorney at Law, I can help you come up with a plan.
Child support payments are typically made from the non-custodial parent — the parent who spends less time with the child — to the custodial parent, sometimes referred to as the “primary caregiver.” A number of factors are considered in determining this amount including the net income of both parents, the division of parenting time, health and child-care costs, or children from other relationships.
One concern that can arise with separating couples is how to ensure the other is being honest about their earnings when calculating net income. Unfortunately, some parents who know they’ll owe child support will artificially decrease their hours or rate of pay temporarily to show less income, thereby leaving the child with less support. If this happens in your case, a California judge can “impute” their income, meaning they’ll estimate the amount of income the parent should be making based on their job history, education, and their ability and willingness to work.
A qualified family law attorney can also help make changes to an existing agreement. Child support modifications are a standard part of custody arrangements and occur for a number of reasons. One parent might have a change in employment that alters their income, a child who was previously in full-time daycare has now entered public school, a parent has a new child in a different relationship, or the medical or educational needs of the shared child change.
In some cases, the parents or a court will decide that child support is no longer needed. This often happens when the child turns 18 (or sometimes 19 if they’re still in high school), or if the child becomes able to support themselves by getting married or joining the military. In other cases, child support could drop off earlier if both parents share equal parenting time, and both are making relatively the same amount of income and are able to meet the needs of the child without money changing hands.
Whatever stage you’re at, I can help. With experience in all aspects of family law, divorce, and child custody and support, I can assist you in determining the right course of action that’s equitable to all members of your family—and above all, supports your child. Please call my office in Covina, California today to set up a consultation.