Both parents are expected to support their children financially and provide for their children’s basic needs. When parents divorce, separate for any reason, or have a child outside of marriage, the court may order one parent to pay the other child support payments.

Whether you are a parent paying child support in California or receiving child support, it is imperative you know how your child support is determined and at what point, and under what conditions those payments legally terminate.

How California Calculates Child Support

California sets child support amounts according to a mathematical formula and set of guidelines. Factors that play a part in the amount parents pay in child support include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Each parent’s income
  • The amount of time each parent spends with the child(ren)
  • The number of children the parents have together
  • The number of children each parent supports in total
  • Any health insurance costs
  • The tax filing status for each parent
  • The cost of any uninsured health care expenses and daycare
  • Any mandatory union dues paid by each parent

It is crucial parents continue paying their child support payments in full until those payments are legally modified or terminated.

The Termination of Child Support

Child support terminates when the court specifies or when any of the following occurs:

  • The child turns eighteen years of age and is not enrolled in high school full-time
  • The child turns nineteen years of age or graduates high school
  • The child passes away prior to eighteen years of age
  • The child is legally married or registers a domestic partnership
  • The child joins the military
  • The child becomes legally emancipated

Parents may agree to continue supporting their children beyond their child support obligation.

Penalties for Non-Payment of Child Support

Parents who stop paying their child support payments before legal termination are subject to court sanctions. These can include any of the following:

  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • Community service
  • Garnishment of wages or bank accounts
  • Seizure of property
  • Seizure of tax refunds, disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, lottery winnings

It is also possible for a delinquent parent to lose their driver’s license or suffer negatively on their credit report.

Child Support Modifications

Parents who cannot make their child support payments can request a modification of their child support order. Potential reasons for a child support modification are:

  • Losing a job
  • Getting a new job
  • An increase or decrease in either parent’s income
  • A change in custody or visitation
  • An increase in family size
  • A disability
  • Imprisonment
  • Active military deployment

Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

If you need help with terminating or modifying your child support, contact an experienced Los Angeles child support attorney at Fernandez & Karney. It is prudent to discuss your child support case with our attorneys before acting alone. You should know California’s child support laws and what to expect in your case before filing your case.

Call or contact Fernandez & Karney online today for answers to your child support or other family law questions. Our skilled family law attorneys in Los Angeles are here to help you.