Child support is available in many cases where the parents do not live together. Parents who share children but live separately may be entitled to receive (or required to pay) money to help support the children. Even in cases where the parent has not sought custody, the law still may require them to pay.
If you or a loved one has a child with someone who lives separately from them, they may be able to seek a court order for child support. Additionally, if you are paying child support, you may be entitled to a modification or reduction in payments based on certain factors. For a free consultation on your child support case, contact the Oxnard child support lawyers at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today. Our number is (805) 585-5056.
Who Pays Child Support in California?
In California, the courts prefer to give joint custody to parents. This means that both parents often share time with their children, who may live with each parent around half the time or may go live with the other parent on weekends and holidays. When one parent has physical custody of the children for more time, they may need additional funds to help pay for their kids’ needs.
Alternatively, one parent may have physical custody, and the other parent does not want to be involved in their children’s lives. Still, the parent is expected to pay to support their biological children, and child support may be ordered.
In most cases, the courts decide who pays child support based on which parent has custody. If one parent has custody for more of the calendar year than the other – of if one parent is the only parent that has physical custody – that parent will receive child support payments. Because the parent who has the children living with them the most will pay additional expenses for things like clothes, food, and transportation, the other parent pays child support to help reimburse the custodial parent and cover their share of the costs.
Income is also a deciding factor in who pays child support. If one parent works all day and the other stays home to care for the children, the working parent may have more income to put towards their children. The courts use income differences as a deciding factor in how much support is paid as well as who pays child support.
Calculating Child Support in Oxnard, CA
California law allows parents to make agreements for child support payments. If you and the other parent can sit down with your attorneys and make your own calculations as to how much child support you need, you can avoid much of the hassle of going to court and making arguments about how much support should be paid. However, if you cannot come to an agreement, the court can decide child support amounts for you.
Courts look at various factors to decide how much child support is needed, including:
- The relative income each parent makes compared to the other,
- How many children each parent supports,
- How much time the parent spends with the children,
- The impact on taxes,
- Health insurance and other expenses each party pays,
- The costs of child care, and other factors.
The more children you share with the recipient, the more you may be required to pay to support the additional children. If you make more money than the custodial parent, you may also be entitled to pay a greater share of the children’s overall care costs.
Changing Child Support in CA
Child support orders are not written in stone, and they can be modified after big life changes. Once a judge orders child support or accepts your child support agreement, the rules laid out in the order or agreement have the force of law. You must continue to pay child support according to the terms of the agreement until a judge says otherwise. In most cases, the payments will automatically be deducted or “garnished” from your wages to ensure payment, and you might have little choice but to pay. Even so, you should never modify, reduce, or stop payments on your own without getting the court’s permission first.
A court can be petitioned to change the terms of a child support order after a “material change in circumstances.” This includes major life changes that may change how much child support is warranted. Common examples of these changes that warrant a change in child support include:
- Changes to either parent’s income or job benefits (e.g. health insurance);
- Major changes to either parent’s rent or mortgage payments;
- Any medical changes for the children;
- Changes to the relevant child support laws;
- Having another child (even with another parent);
- Remarrying or moving the children into a house with a step-parent or other adult;
- The death of a child;
- A child turns 18, leaves the parent’s care, or graduates from high school, etc.
Anything that affects how much money the children need for support or how much either parent can afford to pay may justify changing the support order.
Call Today for a Free Consultation on your Oxnard Child Support Case
If you need to receive child support or you want to lower your payments, talk to an attorney today. The Oxnard child support lawyers at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth represent child support payors and recipients and help them to get the support orders they need to help care for their children. For a free consultation on your case, call our law offices today at (805) 585-5056.