San Bernardino Child Support Attorney

Posted By admin, On July 17, 2020

Due to the lofty cost of living in San Bernardino, arriving at a suitable amount of child support is crucial for both parents. If you need to petition for child support or have a defense against a child support action, you will need a seasoned, well informed San Bernardino child support attorney fighting on your side.

Parent’s Obligation To Support Minors

In California state, both parents possess an equal responsibility for the financial support of their minor children “in the manner suitable to the child’s circumstances.” The law requires people to provide for their children up until the children reach the age of 19.  That said, courts will enforce any agreement that may exist between the mother and the father for ongoing support of an adult child in some situations.  For example, if the child has become incapacitated in some way,  there is not a maximum age ceiling that limits the parents’ obligation. On some occasions, a judge could specify some future situation when the payments shall terminate: the child’s wedding day, for example.

In the event that the state, some governmental or private institution, or an individual volunteer assumes the responsibility of the care of the child, they may have the right to recover the cost from the parent. If the court orders any child support payments, and the county incurs costs and attorney fees in the process of enforcing such order, all the fees and costs are also chargeable to the parent. In California State, registered domestic partners have the same responsibilities with regards to their children as a married couple does.

Ability To Contribute

Each parent is expected to contribute according to his or her ability to do so. State authorities generally consider the duty towards the child fully satisfied with regards to the custodial parent. To raise children’s standard of living, and also to do away with disparity between the divorced or separated parents’ households, the court can obligate additional contributions for this purpose. Conversely, a parent has the right to claim a deduction for reasons of hardship under limited circumstances, such as a catastrophic, uninsured loss.

Legal Child Support Mathematics

The following formula was written in to the California family code for the calculation of child support:

CS = K[HN – (H%)(TN)]

The originator of the computation, the Statewide Uniform Guideline, mercifully delivers a detailed rundown for this: 

  • CS is for the child support amount, the amount to be determined.  You can liken this to the “x” you might remember from high school algebra equations.  
  • H% represents the percentage of time over which the high earner has the primary responsibility for the child or children.  The phrase “primary responsibility” is defined by the courts in case law. For example,  school time could be included or excluded, depending on which parent plays the role of primary caretaker, or on who is paying the tuition fees.
  • K represents a fraction. The K fraction represents the contribution of income by both parents, in total, towards child support. 
  • TN stands for the total net monthly disposable income of both of the parents, and finally,
  • HN is the high earner’s net monthly disposable income. 

As a unique calculation, the net disposable income is separately calculated by deducting taxes and costs that can include disability and health insurance, retirement contributions, or any mandatory union dues from the gross income.  The court is at liberty to adjust the result at its discretion, if it thinks the number does not accurately reflect the potential future earnings, for example.

Complete instructions are provided in California Family Code Section 4055.  For simplicity’s sake, should you find the deluge of letters in the above formula confusing, take a look at this example using numbers:

IF

$4,500 per month = HN (net disposable income per month of the high earner)

$6,300 per month = TN (total net disposable income per month of both parents)

If the high earner spends 30% of time with the child, filling the role of primary caretaker = H%

THEN

The child support (CS) = K*[4,500 – (0.3*6,300)]

We will have to calculate K first. In practice, there are various formulas for the calculation of K, depending on the real H% figure, as well as the combined income of the parents. In a situation like this, K=1+H% multiplied by 0.25 (this fraction comes from a table that can be found in Section 4055, and its application is limited to the combined disposable income of both parents range from $801 to  $6,666).  Therefore, K=1+ 30%*0.25=0.325.

When that number is input into the formula, it will look like:

Child support = 0.325*[4,500 – (0.3*6,300)]

This equals 0.325*[4,500 – 1,890] = 0.325*2,610 = $848.25

The example is, in actuality, a simple hypothetical.  Due to the underlying variables that can be uncovered by the fact-finding pursuit by the courts, circumstances such as a summer spent staying with the grandparents, or a study abroad program could have an impact on the results.  In rather sweeping terms, a parent’s contribution can be lowered (1) if they later take on the role of the person primarily responsible for the child for more time than the other parent; or (2) if the other parent makes a bigger salary.

It is important to understand that the result of this calculation still does constitute a rebuttable presumption as to what the support should be at the end of the day.  The court has the power to issue an order for a divergent child support number if, for example, the high earner’s income were rather extraordinary.  The calculation using that person’s true income, under the guideline, “would exceed the needs of the children.”

When Proceedings Are Pending

When the child support becomes the subject of dispute between the parents, a court has the power to set a temporary order for the payment of support.  On the other hand, should the parents happen to make up and return to living together under one roof, the temporary order loses its authority.

The courts in California state also have the authority to hand down an expedited support order. Whenever the court has a filing for such order under review, the obligated parent, called upon to pay the child support, is entitled to a hearing. Normally, an expedited support order becomes valid 30 days after the service of all necessary paperwork on the obligated parent. The court can also set the order up to take effect retroactively, as of the date that the petition was entered.

In the event that the obligated parent’s income is not known, instead of employing the calculation from the guideline, the judge can order that parent to pay a minimum defined in the state’s welfare laws. The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids Act lays out  the “minimum basic standards of adequate care”  in dollar amounts, starting at $341.

Seeking a Modification

Generally speaking, courts have the authority to modify or bring an end to child support orders at any point in time, although a few limitations do exist. A simplified process can be accessed by parents looking to get a modification or termination of child support. The California Courts website shows detailed instructions on how you can file, so that parents who are not in a position to pay for legal counsel, can apply for a modification and represent themselves.