Ventura, CA Same Sex Marriage Child Support Lawyer
If you are going through a divorce or break-up, issues surrounding child support may be extremely important to address. For LGBT parents, child support laws work much the same way they do for opposite sex parents. However, there are some LGBT child custody issues that may touch child support needs.
If you are looking to receive, enforce, raise, or lower your child support, talk to an attorney today. The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth have child support lawyers in Ventura that work with families of all types to help them with their support disputes. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.
Child Support Lawyer for Same Sex Couples
Child support laws are well-established in California, but they do not provide a one-size-fits-all solution for any one family. The laws are gender neutral and make no presumption that a father pays and a mother receives child support, meaning these laws fit well for LGBT parents.
Usually, the parent who has the children for the most days in the year is the one who receives child support. This parent is said to have “primary physical custody” of the children. The other parent, the “noncustodial parent,” may still have legal custody of the kids, but may only have physical custody on weekends, during summer vacation, or for other preestablished periods. Physical custody is when the children actually live in your home, as opposed to legal custody which gives you the ability to make decisions in your child’s life.
California law tries to give joint or shared custody to both parents whenever possible. Still, since one parent may have the children for more of the year, they face a heavier burden. Not only is the time commitment to raise kids very high, but they also spend money out-of-pocket for child care. Child support is used to make-up the noncustodial parent’s fair share of the costs of raising children.
Deciding the child support amount requires analyzing a few factors. First, courts look at the number of children being supported in the order, and the number of other children the parent pays to support. More children to support on this child support order means a higher amount of money paid. Second, courts look at the combined income of the parties. The total combined income helps set the standard cost of raising children at that income level. Each parent’s share of the income determines what portion of the child support they are responsible for. Thus, if you make more income than the other parent, you are expected to pay for more of their needs.
Lastly, courts look at the parenting time division. If one parent has physical custody at all times, the other parent never pays out-of-pocket and must pay most of the support amount. If the parents share time equally, neither has a higher out-of-pocket burden, and child support may be unnecessary if they split the costs. In situations where one parent has children for 30% of the year or 20% of the year, they often pay higher support amounts.
Child Support Issues for LGBT Parents
Child support is only used among the legal parents of a child. This means that both the payor and the recipient must have custody of the children before courts will address child support questions. With many LGBT couples, one parent is the biological parent and the other adopts the child. In other cases, both parents are non-biological parents and have both adopted the child.
In cases where one parent is the biological parent and the other is not, there may be complications that block child support. First, if the child’s biological parent had the child from a previous relationship, that child’s other biological parent may still be involved. Since California only allows there to be 2 legal parents, only the two biological parents can have child custody or be asked to pay child support. This may mean that the child’s other parent should pay child support, and courts cannot force a step-parent to pay.
Second, some parents never finalize adoptions. One parent may treat the child as their own, but legally have no custody rights. Upon divorce, this can create strange circumstances, where the biological parent cannot request child support, since the other “parent” is legally unrelated to the child. If there was a sperm or egg donor, that biological parent may be the child’s technical, legal parent, instead.
Many of these issues are uncommon, and in the vast majority of cases, LGBT couples can claim the same rights to child support as any opposite sex parents. Even with adopted children, you are the legal parent and may be ordered to pay child support.
Ventura, CA Child Support Lawyers
If you are going through a divorce or breakup, consider talking to an attorney about your child support situations. In some families, there may be complex situations when looking at legal vs. biological parents. Our attorneys can help you navigate your family situation and fight toward getting you an appropriate outcome in your child support dispute. For a free consultation, contact our Ventura child support lawyers today at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth. Our number is (805) 643-5555.