Ventura, CA Child Support Lawyers
Every parent wants to ensure that his or her children get the resources they need to flourish. This involves providing not only emotional support, but also, an adequate level of financial support. When two parents get divorced, the sudden loss of income can place enormous financial pressure on the custodial parent. The purpose of child support is to give the custodial parent the financial resources that he or she needs to continue providing his or her child with good care, a stable living environment, and a high quality of life.
For mothers and fathers alike, child support is one of the most important components of the divorce process. However, it can also be one of the most confusing and aggravating. California’s complicated child support guidelines often give rise to contentious disputes, especially in cases where there are also disputes over alimony or spousal support. If you need help resolving a child support dispute, need assistance collecting child support payments, or simply have questions about how to maximize child support, turn to the experienced family law attorneys of Bamieh & De Smeth for aggressive, effective representation in Southern California.
For a free legal consultation about child support laws in California, call The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC at (805) 643-5555 today. We will keep your consultation confidential.
How is Child Support Calculated in California?
Under California Family Code § 3900, “[T]he father and mother of a minor child have an equal responsibility to support their child in the manner suitable to the child’s circumstances.” Family courts are authorized to order child support payments by Cal. Family Code § 4001, which provides, “In any proceeding where there is at issue the support of a minor child… the court may order either or both parents to pay an amount necessary for the support of the child.” A “minor child” is any child under the age of 18.
Like other states, California has established unique guidelines for determining child support amounts. The state supplies a free-to-use California child support calculator online, but parents should approach with caution: while child support calculators can sketch a rough image of anticipated expenses, the support guidelines can become rather complex and may be affected by additional considerations not included in the formula.
Child support calculations must be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration a number of financial factors that vary from family to family. To help ensure uniformity and fair treatment, Cal. Family Code § 4053 requires the courts to always consider the following points when implementing the statewide uniform child support guidelines:
- “The guideline seeks to place the interests of children as the state’s top priority.”
- “Children should share in the standard of living of both parents.”
- “Each parent should pay for the support of the children according to his or her ability.”
- “Both parents are mutually responsible for the support of their children.”
- “[O]nly under special circumstances should child support orders fall below the child support mandated by the guideline formula.”
Factors that impact child support under the California guideline formula include:
- Each parent’s annual gross income.
- Each parent’s tax filing status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
- Each parent’s health insurance premiums.
- How many children require support.
- How much time the child spends with each parent.
- The extent to which the custodial and non-custodial parents contribute financially to the care of the child or children.
- Whether either parent is supporting additional children from other marriages.
- Whether the child is mentally or physically disabled, has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, or has other medical considerations or special needs.
In most cases, payments are automatically deducted from the parent who is paying child support. Parents should be advised that failure to make full and timely payments also constitutes a failure to obey court orders, which can have very serious legal consequences – including, in some cases, costly fines and/or incarceration in jail.
If your spouse is not making child support payments, resist the temptation to retaliate by making threats or withholding visitation, which will simply make your legal situation worse. The correct way to handle nonpayment of child support is to review your options with an experienced attorney from Bamieh & De Smeth, who can help you enforce the child support order and collect overdue child support or missed child support payments from your ex-husband or ex-wife.
How Long Does Child Support Last in California?
A major change in life circumstances may justify changing or even completely ending child support payments. There are several reasons child support can be modified or terminated under the laws of California. Child support may potentially be altered or terminated:
- If the child is emancipated, whether through marriage or a court order.
- If the parent paying child support has a drastic change in his or her financial circumstances, such as being diagnosed with a serious illness, or becoming a caregiver for an elderly parent.
- Once the child graduates from high school.
- Once the child turns 18 years old, at which point he or she becomes a legal adult. Note that if the child is still attending high school at age 18, support may be terminated when he or she reaches age 19.
Child support will not change or terminate automatically. If you wish to modify child support or terminate child support, you will need assistance from an experienced attorney who can help you with the legal forms and court appearances that are required for the process.
Contact an Experienced Ventura Child Support Attorney for Legal Help
Divorce changes your financial circumstances, but it doesn’t change your child or baby’s financial needs. If your spouse is trying to avoid his or her financial responsibilities, the child support lawyers of Bamieh & De Smeth can aggressively pursue the resources you need to provide for your son or daughter. Whether your spouse is trying to minimize child support payments, currently owes you child support money, or has stopped making child support payments altogether, our legal team can help.
We know that you’re ready to fight for your child. Now, let us fight for you. With law offices conveniently located in Ventura, we are situated to serve residents of Ventura, CA and other local communities in the Southern California region. To learn more about the legal services we provide and how we can help your family, contact our law offices at (805) 643-5555 today.