Orange County Child Support Lawyers
Due to the rising cost of living in Orange County, coming to decisions about child support is crucial for both of the parents. If you are petitioning for child support or have received a child support summons and need defense, you should have an experienced Orange County child support attorney fighting for you.
Parental Obligation To Support their Minor Children
In California, both the mother and father of any child hold an equal responsibility for the financial upkeep of their minor children “in the manner suitable to the child’s circumstances.” The California family code obligates people to provide for their children up until the children are 19 years old. Any agreement that may exist between the mother and the father for continuing support of an adult child in some situations can be enforced by the courts. For example, if the child became incapacitated, then the maximum age limit of the parental obligation goes away. A judge could impose some future criteria when the payments should automatically terminate: the day the child gets married, for example.
If the state of California, any governmental or private institution, or some individual volunteer takes over the responsibility of the care of the child, they might have the right to be reimbursed the cost from the parents. If the court orders child support payments, and the county incurs liabilities and attorney fees in the process of enforcing that order, all the fees and costs are also chargeable to the parent. In California, the same responsibilities apply to registered domestic partners as to married couples regarding their children.
Ability To Contribute
Each parent is expected to make their contribution within his or her ability. Courts generally consider the duty towards the child satisfied with regards to the parent who has custody. To improve a child’s standard of living, and also, to limit disparities between the divorced or separated parents’ households, the judge could obligate further contributions. Conversely, a parent is within their rights to request a deduction for reasons of hardship under limited circumstances, like a catastrophic, uninsured loss.
Child Support Mathematics
This formula, from the California family code, is for determining a child support figure:
CS = K[HN – (H%)(TN)]
The Statewide Uniform Guideline, the creator, mercifully furnishes a detailed rundown for this:
- CS is for child support. This is the amount to be determined. This is like the “x” you may remember from high school algebra.
- H% is the percentage of time over which the higher income earner has the primary responsibility for the child or children. The idea of “primary responsibility” is explained by the courts in case law. For example, school time could be excluded or included, depending on which parent is the primary caretaker, or on who is paying the child’s tuition.
- K is a fraction. The K fraction is the contribution of income by both of the parents in full.
- TN is the total net disposable monthly income of both of the parents, and finally,
- HN is the higher income earner’s net monthly disposable income.
For the net disposable income, taxes and costs that might include disability and health insurance, retirement contributions, or any mandatory union dues are deducted from the gross income. The judge can tweak the result at its discretion, if he or she believes the number does not correctly reflect potential future income, for example.
There are directions in California Family Code Section 4055. To simplify, if the flurry of letters in the above formula makes you dizzy, look at this example using some hypothetical figures:
$4,500 per month = HN (the upper income earner’s net disposable income per month)
$6,300 per month = TN (total net disposable income monthly of both parents)
If the upper income earner spends 30% of time with the child or children, serving in the role of primary caretaker = H%
Child support (CS) = K*[4,500 – (0.3*6,300)]
Recall that we calculate K first. In reality, there are multiple formulas for the calculation of K. Which one is used depends on the real H% figure, and the parents’ combined income. In a scenario like this, K=1+H% times 0.25 (this fraction comes a table in Section 4055. Its application is limited to the combined disposable monthly income of both parents of between $801 and $6,666).
When this figure goes into the formula:
Child support = 0.325*[4,500 – (0.3*6,300)]
Here’s the calculation:
0.325*[4,500 – 1,890] = 0.325*2,610 = $848.25
This is a basic hypothetical. Multiple variables can come up in the fact-finding investigation by the courts. Summer spent with grandparents or a study abroad could have an impact on the results. In broadly sweeping terms, a parent’s contribution can be lowered (1) if they assume the role of the person primarily responsible for the child for more time than the other parent in the future; or (2) if the other parent earns more money.
Be aware that the result of this calculation still does present the parties with a rebuttable presumption as to what the support needs to be. The court may issue an order for some divergent child support figure if, for example, the high earner’s income was on the extreme end of the spectrum. In such cases, the calculation using that person’s earnings “would exceed the needs of the children” under the guideline.
When quarreling prolongs a child support matter, a judge can issue a temporary order for some of support. Should the parents reconcile and return to residing together, any temporary order is void.
California courts may also hand down an expedited child support order. Whenever a filing for such order under review in the court, the parent called upon to make the child support payment, is entitled to a hearing. Normally, an expedited support order becomes valid 30 days after the service of necessary documents on the obligated parent. The court may date the order to be retroactive, so payments are due as of the date that the petition was first entered.
In some circumstances where the obligated parent’s income is unknown, instead of employing the calculation from the guideline, the judge could order that parent to pay a minimum amount as defined in the state’s welfare laws. The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids Act dictates the “minimum basic standards of adequate care” in dollar amounts, from $341.
Family court judges can change or bring an end to child support orders at any point in time. Nevertheless, limitations do exist. A simpler process can be accessed by parents who want a modification or termination of child support. The California Courts website gives instructions on how to submit a petition by yourself, if you cannot afford a lawyer.