Under California law, a parent’s first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children, according to their circumstances and station in life. Furthermore, both parents are mutually responsible for the support of their children, and should share in the standard of living of both parents.
In divorce or dissolution of domestic partnership cases and parentage cases, either parent may request that the other party pay support for the minor children. Child support is calculated based on a formula, applied through a computer software program called DissoMaster. DissoMaster incorporates the parties’ respective incomes, custodial timeshares, and other financial information to calculate a dollar amount of support. That amount is called “Guideline” child support and it is the amount a court will order the paying parent to pay to the other parent. Parties may agree to a child support amount that is less or more than guideline support. In certain and very narrow circumstances, a Court too, may order below or above guideline support. However, where the proposed child support amount is less than Guideline, the parties will have to first demonstrate that the needs of the minor children will be met.
In addition to Guideline child support, the court may also order the parties to share costs for childcare in order for either party to work or attend training or schooling, reasonable healthcare costs, travel costs related to visitation, and costs for a child’s educational needs or other special needs of the children.
Child support can be a complex issue. Parties sometimes attempt to hide or mischaracterize income, withhold support, or attempt to force the other party to accept inappropriate support amounts. Sometimes, The County Department of Child Support Services may become involved to collect support from recalcitrant payees, or on behalf of parties who receive government benefits.
Our firm represents parents seeking child support orders, enforcement of existing child support orders, and requests to modify or terminate child support. Likewise, our firm represents clients defending against unreasonable demands for child support.