Ventura Child Support Dispute Attorney
One of the most popular disputes that brings people to court for family law issues is child support. In California, child support enforcement procedures are quite strict and usually work to ensure the recipient gets the support payments they are entitled to. However, non-payment and back payments can be a serious problem – as can disputes over how much should be paid in the first place.
If you are involved in a child support dispute, contact the Ventura child support dispute attorneys at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth. Our attorneys can represent you in your child support case whether you are claiming child support, seeking to lower your child support payments, or trying to enforce back child support payments. For help with your case, schedule a free legal consultation with our lawyers today by calling (805) 643-5555.
Types of Child Support Disputes
Child support issues can arise at any step of the process. But when should you take your case to a lawyer or go to court? Our Ventura child support dispute lawyers explain the types of child support disputes that an attorney can help you with:
Filing for Child Support
When both parents live in the same household, it is presumed that each parent contributes what they can to the household and raising the children. If either parent has the income to give financial support, the law assumes they will do so, and there is typically no child support ordered when the parents live together – whether they are married or not. However, as soon as one parent moves out of the household, the court can step in and issue a child support order. This means that if the other parent moves away or you break up, you should get a lawyer and apply to a court for an official child custody order as well as a child support order.
Modifying Child Support
Once the court orders one of you to pay child support, you must keep paying the support as ordered until the court tells you to stop or pay a different amount. If either parent’s income changes, they lose their job, they suffer a disability that will keep them from working, or they undergo any other significant financial changes, the court may be able to modify the amount paid under the support order. This means you can apply to have your payments lowered or the amounts you receive increased.
Enforcement for Non-Payment
The court and various local child support agencies (LCSAs) are in charge of enforcing child support orders. This means that if there is any problem getting the support you are entitled to for your children, the court or an LCSA can step in to take action against delinquent payments and get you the support you need through the help of your attorney. In most California child support cases, the court will order the payments taken directly from the payor’s paychecks in a process called wage garnishment. If the payments are stopped or evaded, the payor can face potential penalties for not paying, such as a lien against their property and the inability to renew their driver’s license. Intentional non-payment can even result in criminal charges and fines.
As mentioned, child support issues usually start when the parents move apart into separate households. One of the most common ways that this occurs is through divorce. The divorce process can take at least 6 months before it is finalized, and this usually means the parties will become separated and move apart before that. A court can step in to order child support as soon as the couple separates and update or modify the support orders as the divorce case goes on.
Ending Child Support
Child support usually does not end until the child in question turns 18 and graduates from high school. This means that you must keep paying child support, even if you do not have contact with your child or the child does not want to have a relationship with you. In some cases, you can end child support early by giving up your custody rights and agreeing to end your relationship with the child. Courts often allow parents to cut ties if the other parent agrees, and this happens all the time in cases where the other parent has remarried and the child’s stepparent wants to adopt the child.
Keep in mind that you must continue to pay support until the court says you can stop. That means that when the child turns 18 and graduates from high school, you still need to keep paying until the order is terminated. Once your child is an adult, you can file for the support to end and the court should terminate the child support order as soon as possible. Typically, you do not get a refund for any payments made after the fact, so it is vital to talk to a lawyer and file for termination as soon as you can.
Contact Our Ventura Child Support Dispute Lawyer for a Free Legal Consultation
If you are entering a child support dispute in California, it is important to have a lawyer represent you and help guide you through the process. Your attorney can fight to ensure that the payments are fair and just in your case and to ensure that your rights are protected. Whether you are accused of not paying child support or you want to file to have child support payments increased or lowered, our Ventura child support dispute lawyers can help. Call the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth at (805) 643-5555 today to schedule a free legal consultation with our attorneys.