Long Beach Child Support Lawyers
Due to the escalating cost of living in the Long Beach area, making a decision about the right amount of child support is critical for both of the parents. If you’re going to petition for child support or are in receipt of a child support summons and need to defend yourself, then you need to have a seasoned Long Beach child support lawyer fighting for you.
Parental Obligation To Support Minor Children
In the state of California, both the mother and father of a child are equally responsible for the financial upkeep of their minor children “in the manner suitable to the child’s circumstances.” The family code requires folks to provide for their children up to the age of 19. In some scenarios, an agreement that may exist between the mother and the father for ongoing support of an adult child that can be enforced by the courts. Say the child suddenly became incapacitated, for example. In such a situation the maximum age ceiling that limits the parents’ obligation no longer exists. Under some circumstances, a judge could propose a future situation in which the payments should automatically stop: the day the child gets married, for example.
In the event that the state of California, any governmental or private institution, or some individual volunteer assumes the responsibility of the care of the child, they may actually have a legal right to be reimbursed the cost from the parent. If the court does order any child support payments, and the county incurs liabilities and attorney fees in the process of enforcing said order, all the related fees and costs are also payable by the parent. In California, similar responsibilities apply to registered domestic partners as they do to married couples with respect to their children.
Ability To Contribute Financially
Each parent is expected to make a contribution in relation to his or her ability to do so. In general, judges consider the duty towards the child fully satisfied by the parent who has custody. To upgrade a child’s standard of living, and also to eliminate the disparity between the divorced or separated parents’ households, the judge can order further contributions. Conversely, parents are within their rights to claim a deduction for reasons of hardship under some limited circumstances, such as a catastrophic, uninsured loss.
Calculating Child Support: The Mathematics
The formula below is enshrined in the California family code. This is the formula used for arriving at a child support figure:
CS = K[HN – (H%)(TN)]
The Statewide Uniform Guideline, the ones who created the computation, gives a detailed rundown for this:
- “CS” means child support. This signifies the payment to be determined. This is much like “x”, your old friend (or foe) from your high school algebra equations.
- “H%” symbolizes the percentage of time over which the higher income earner holds the primary responsibility for the minor children. This concept of “primary responsibility” is explained in detail in case law. For example, time the child spends in school could be excluded or included, depending upon which parent actsin the role of primary caretaker, or on who is carrying the cost of the tuition fees.
- K is, in actuality, a fraction. The K fraction stands for the combined contribution of income by both of the parents to the child support responsibility.
- TN symbolizes the combined net disposable income of the two parents every month, and finally,
- HN symbolizes the higher income earner’s net monthly disposable income.
As a separate calculation, the net disposable income is calculated by deducting the taxes and costs that could include disability and health insurance, retirement contributions, or any mandatory union dues from the gross income. The judge can adjust the result at his or her discretion, if he or she believes that the number does not correctly reflect the potential future income, for example.
Complete directions are provided in California Family Code Section 4055. To simplify things, if the deluge of letters in the above formula makes your head spin, take a look at this example using some hypothetical figures:
$4,500 each month = HN (net disposable income each month of the high income earner)
$6,300 each month = TN (combined net disposable income every month for both parents)
If the higher income earner spends 30% of time with the child or children, serving in the role of primary caretaker = H%
The child support (CS) = K*[4,500 – (0.3*6,300)]
If you remember, for this to work, we must calculate K first. In the real world, there are really a number of formulas for the calculation of K. Which one you should use depends upon the real H% figure, as well as the combined income of the parents. In such a situation, K=1+H% times 0.25 (this fraction is taken from a table that you can access in Section 4055. Its application is limited to a total disposable income of both parents in the range of $801 to $6,666 combined).
So it would follow K=1+ 30%*0.25=0.325.
When this figure is input into the formula, it will look like this:
Child support = 0.325*[4,500 – (0.3*6,300)]
The math goes as follows:
0.325*[4,500 – 1,890] = 0.325*2,610 = $848.25
The example is, in reality, a basic hypothetical. Numerous underlying and outlying variables that may be revealed by the fact-finding investigation by the courts, including such circumstances as a summer spent at grandma’s house, or a program of study abroad could have an impact on the results. In broadly sweeping terms, a parent’s contribution can be reduced (1) if they assume the role of the person primarily responsible for the child for more time than the other parent at some stage in the future; or (2) if the other parent earns a bigger salary.
It is critical to remain aware that the result of this calculation still does give the parties involved a rebuttable presumption as to what the support should be in the end. The court has the authority to issue an order for some divergent child support figure if, for example, the high earner’s income were on the extreme end of the spectrum. In this case, the calculation using that person’s actual earnings “would exceed the needs of the children” under the guideline.
As Proceedings Are Pending
When the child support conundrum becomes the subject of bickering between the parents, a judge has the power to hand down a temporary order for some payment of support. On the flip side, should the parents happen to reconcile and return to residing together under the same roof, the temporary order loses its authority.
The family courts of California also retain the authority to hand down an expedited child support order. Whenever a filing for this kind of order is reviewed in the court, the obligated parent, called upon to make the child support payment, is entitled to a hearing. Customarily, an expedited support order becomes valid 30 days after the service of all necessary documents on the obligated parent. The court also might date the order to be retroactive, so that payments are due as of the date that the petition was first entered.
In some situations where the obligated parent’s income is not known, instead of utilizing the calculation from the guideline, the judge has the power to order that parent to pay a minimum amount as defined in the state’s welfare laws. The language in the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids Act dictates the “minimum basic standards of adequate care” in dollar amounts, starting at $341.
Petitioning for a Modification
Generally, the family court judge has the authority to change or bring an end to child support orders at any point in time. Nevertheless, a few limitations do exist. A more simple process can be accessed by parents looking to obtain a modification or termination of child support. The website of the California Courts gives detailed instructions on how you can submit a petition by yourself. This is for parents who are not in a position to pay for the help of a lawyer. Such persons have the right to apply for a modification and represent themselves.