Child support is a monthly payment that one parent provides the other parent to aid in the cost of rearing a child. When parents legally separate or divorce, a parent’s child support obligation begins on the date ordered by the court. This date relies heavily on the parents’ ability to cooperate, exchange information, and facilitate the process, as well as the necessity for judicial involvement.

The Divorce Filing and Request for a Child Support Order

When a parent files for divorce, that parent also files a request for a child support order. This order, along with the other divorce documents, is served upon the other parent. The parent who receives the divorce documents, including the request for child support, has an opportunity to review and respond to the documents prior to a hearing for temporary orders.

At the temporary order hearing, the court will review any of the parents’ evidence and testimony. The court will then put a temporary child support order in place. Most temporary child support orders are obtained within sixty days of a divorce filing.

Parents who are able to agree beforehand can make their own child support arrangements. However, the court will decide if that agreement is in the best interests of the children.

California’s Child Support Guidelines

California’s child support guidelines are based on a mathematical formula that takes several factors into account. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • Both parent’s incomes;
  • Health insurance costs;
  • Number of children;
  • Amount of time spent with each parent;
  • Daycare costs; and
  • Uninsured healthcare costs.

Parents must pay child support until the child reaches eighteen or nineteen if the child is still in high school and lives with a parent. There are exceptions for children who marry, register a domestic partnership, join the military, or otherwise become self-supporting.

Modifying Child Support

Families grow and change, as do their financial circumstances and needs. Therefore, child support orders are modifiable. To motion the court for a child support modification, there must be a significant change in circumstances justifying the request.

  • A significant change in circumstances could include:
  • A job loss;
  • A large pay increase or decrease;
  • A change in custodial time-share;
  • A new child; and
  • Parental incarceration.

When reviewing a motion to modify child support, the court will review both parents’ finances and pertinent information when creating a new order.

Contact an Experienced Attorney in Los Angeles

If you would like to learn more about child support in legal separation and divorce actions, contact a Los Angeles child support lawyer at Fernandez & Karney. One of our attorneys will meet with you in a confidential setting to discuss California’s child support calculation and its potential impact on your family, finances, and future.

In addition, the Los Angeles family law attorneys at Fernandez & Karney can help you with any child support or divorce needs. Please reach out to our office for knowledgeable advice regarding any spousal support, asset division, and post-divorce modification concerns as well.