Riverside Child Support Attorney

Posted By admin, On July 22, 2020

Due to the rising cost of living in Riverside, making a decision about a suitable amount of child support is crucial for both of the parents. If you are going to petition for child support or have received a child support summons and need to defend yourself, you should have a well informed, experienced Riverside child support attorney fighting on your side.

Parent’s Are Obligated To Support their Minor Children

In California, both the mother and father of any child carry an equal responsibility for the financial upkeep of their minor children “in the manner suitable to the child’s circumstances.” The California family code requires people to provide for their children up until the children are 19 years of age.  That said, any agreement that may exist between the mother and the father for ongoing support of an adult child in some situations can be enforced by the courts.  For example, if the child suddenly became incapacitated in some fashion,  then the maximum age ceiling that limits the parents’ obligation is no longer in place. Under some circumstances, a judge could implement some future situation when the payments should automatically terminate: 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 takes over the responsibility of the care of the child, they may actually have the right to be reimbursed the cost from the parent. If the court should order any child support payments, and the county incurs liabilities and attorney fees in the process of enforcing that order, all the related fees and costs are also chargeable to the parent. In the Golden State, the same responsibilities apply to registered domestic partners as they do to married couples with regards to their children.

The Ability To Contribute

Each parent is expected to make their contribution according to his or her ability. State officials generally consider the duty towards the child fully satisfied with regards to the parent who has custody. To raise a child’s standard of living, and additionally, to end the disparity between the divorced or separated parents’ households, the judge can obligate further contributions for this purpose. Conversely, a parent is within their rights to claim a deduction for reasons of hardship under limited circumstances, like a catastrophic, uninsured loss.

The Mathematics of Child Support

This formula was instituted in the California family code for the arriving at a child support figure:

CS = K[HN – (H%)(TN)]

The Statewide Uniform Guideline, who created the computation, mercifully furnishes a detailed rundown for this: 

  • CS is short for child support.  This signifies the amount to be determined.  This is akin to the “x” you might remember from high school algebra equations.  
  • H% symbolizes the percentage of time over which the higher income earner has the primary responsibility for the child or children.  The concept of “primary responsibility” is explained by the courts in case law. For instance, school time could be excluded or included, depending on which parent serves in the role of primary caretaker, or on who is carrying the cost of the tuition fees.
  • K is actually a fraction. The K fraction signifies the contribution of income by both of the parents, in total, to the child support responsibility. 
  • TN symbolizes the total net disposable income of both of the parents every month, and finally,
  • HN symbolizes the higher income earner’s net monthly disposable income. 

As a side calculation, the net disposable income is separately calculated by deducting the taxes and costs that might include disability and health insurance, retirement contributions, or any mandatory union dues from the gross income.  The judge can adjust the result at its discretion, if he or she thinks 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, have a look at this example using some hypothetical figures:

IF

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

$6,300 per month = TN (total 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%

THEN

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

If you remember, we need to calculate K first. In the real world, there are actually multiple formulas for the calculation of K.  Which one is used depends upon the real H% figure, as well as the combined income of the parents. In a situation such as this, K=1+H% times 0.25 (this fraction is taken from a table that can be accessed in Section 4055. Its application is limited to the combined disposable income of both parents that ranges from $801 to  $6,666).  

So it follows that K=1+ 30%*0.25=0.325.

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

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

This is calculated as follows: 

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

The example is, in truth, a basic hypothetical.  Numerous underlying variables that can be revealed by the fact-finding investigation by the courts, including circumstances such as a summer spent at the home of grandparents, 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 take on the role of the person primarily responsible for the child for more time than the other parent at some point down the line; or (2) if the other parent earns a bigger salary.

It is important to be aware that the result of this calculation still does present the parties with a rebuttable presumption as to what the support should be when all is said and done.  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.

When Proceedings Are Pending

When the child support issue becomes the subject of quarreling between the parents, a judge has the power to issue 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 courts in the state of California also retain the authority to hand down an expedited child support order. Whenever a filing for such order under review in the court, the obligated parent, called upon to make the child support payment, is entitled to a hearing. Customarily, an expedited support order comes into validity 30 days after the service of all necessary documents on the obligated parent. The court can also 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 California Courts website 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 individuals can apply for a modification and represent themselves.