Sacramento Child Support Attorney
Child support is often one of the main points of contention during divorce proceedings. Divorce fundamentally affects a dependent’s living environment, and child support payments can bring back a degree of normalcy. California has a fairly high cost of living, and working out a fair child support arrangement prevents kids from becoming victims. If you live in the state of California and have any questions or concerns regarding existing or future child support payments, contact an experienced Boyd Law child support lawyer in Sacramento, CA for answers and potential legal counsel. Each parent has a duty to provide for a child’s financial needs. Court ordered child support is the justice system’s way of safeguarding a child’s needs until he or she becomes a legal adult. Divorce, annulments, and legal separations are some of the most common reasons why the court may order child support. A judge also reserves the right to order child support in cases where biological parents are unmarried and in cases of domestic violence.
How Can a Child Support Attorney Help?
Issues related to the children of a marriage are some of the most common reasons for arguments, contested terms and divorce trials in Sacramento. One of the key issues is child support payments. It is typical for the higher-earning spouse to contest the other parent’s demands in terms of child support. The spouse may argue against having to pay child support at all, or else offer far less than the other spouse is legally entitled to receive for childcare. For this reason, it is wise for both spouses to hire their own attorneys to help them work through the complicated matter of child support. A professional child support attorney in Sacramento can provide key information about California’s child support laws. A lawyer can give you an accurate estimate of what you or your spouse may have to pay in child support, for example, based on how California calculates these amounts. This can give you and your spouse accurate guidelines for negotiating a child support agreement between the two of you. A lawyer can also help you and your spouse with mediation or arbitration to improve your chances of avoiding a trial. This can save you time and money in the long run. Your lawyer can make the settlement process much easier for you as a parent. If you and your spouse cannot come to a child support agreement, your divorce lawyer can represent you during a trial in Sacramento. Your lawyer can state the facts of your case, such as listing all the expenses that go into caring for your children, before a judge and jury at a divorce trial. Your attorney can help you navigate California’s rules and regulations for enforcing a child support order. Your lawyer will make sure to safeguard the rights of your children during your divorce case. From a streamlined child support process to a successful court order, your lawyer can achieve many important milestones on your behalf.
How the Courts in California Determine Child Support Payments
Parents have an opportunity to agree on their own child support arrangement, or the court will use a statewide formulation to create an amount for them. If, at any point, the court determines parents or guardians are not meeting a child’s needs, a judge will impose court ordered child support as he or she sees fit. The sole purpose of child support is to provide kids with the financial means to grow as they would under normal circumstances. Parents cannot reject court ordered child support payments on the child’s behalf. Some factors used to determine support include:
- Disposable income or earning capacity
- A parent’s standard of living
- Tax filing statuses
- Individual circumstances
- Health care costs
- Education costs
- Visitation travel and daycare costs
- How much time a parent spends with a child
Under California laws, a parent may have to pay child support until the adolescent turns 18 or 19. If a divorce agreement indicates otherwise, the courts may enforce child support payments exceeding that timeframe.
Reasons No Legal Agreement Established for Custodial Parents: 2014Source: United States Census Bureau
What Happens When a Parent Fails to Pay Child Support?
Like any other financial responsibility, a parent may pay interest on the support amount owed if he or she falls behind. For child support obligations due after January 1, 1983, the interest rate is 10% of the total amount owed per year. The court does have the ability to garnish a parent’s wages for failure to pay. While failing to pay child support has financial and legal repercussions, it does not affect a parent’s right to visitation. If you are concerned that your ex-spouse has lied or purposefully avoided paying adequate child support, you can take action through the courts. The team of Sacramento, CA divorce attorneys at Boyd Law can help you identify and address the inconsistency.
Modifying a Child Support Order
As time passes, one parent or the other may experience changes in income or time spent with the child. Modifications to support payments may indicate a need to reevaluate the support order. You can always ask the court to make a new decision regarding child support but consider looking at new estimates before doing so. Parents are responsible for paying the current child support payment until a new order has been issued.
Can Child Support Be Modified in California?
Yes, it is possible to modify a child support court order in California. Before the courts will agree to modify the order, however, you will need to prove that you have a situation that entitles you to a support order modification. In general, you or your lawyer will need to prove that you or your ex-spouse’s circumstances have changed significantly since the date of the original child support order. If you and your spouse can agree on the details of the modification, you can take a stipulation to a judge for a signature and it will become a new order. Otherwise, you will need to ask a judge to order the change. It will not be enough to experience a minor change in income or situation. You will need to establish a significant change in circumstances for a judge to grant a child support modification request.
- Loss of a job
- New job acquired
- Personal injury that impacts a parent’s ability to work
- Significant demotion or promotion
- Change in childcare, such as a permanent disability or the death of a child
- Significant changes in child custody
- A minor child getting emancipated
- One parent having a child from another relationship
- One parent being incarcerated
Note that the parent requesting the modification will still have a legal obligation to pay the original amount until a judge issues a new order. Switching to a lower amount without a court order can put the paying spouse in arrears. This can ultimately lead to legal penalties, such as wage garnishment or being held in contempt of court. If your ex-spouse altered how much he or she pays you in child support without an official court order, contact an attorney from the Boyd Law Firm for assistance. You may have to take your ex-spouse to court to recover the missing payments.
How Can We Help You?
Child support issues can arise long after the resolution of child custody. Your child should have the best opportunities possible after a divorce, and your family lawyer in Sacramento can help. We have the expertise and experience needed to help you navigate California child support laws. Whether you are going through a divorce right now or you are having trouble with enforcement, let us know. Our child support attorneys will work hard to make sure your kids have essential financial support. Contact our law offices today for a free child support case evaluation.