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Child Support

 

CHILD SUPPORT

 

In a California divorce, child support has priority over spousal support. Spousal support will be considered only after children have been adequately provided for and will be based on the finances of the parties after child support has been calculated. Child support is normally based on the current income of the paying spouse. Whenever there is an order for child support issued by a divorce court, there must also be a separate order assigning wages of the paying spouse. This will guarantee that the paying spouse's wages are automatically deducted every month to pay child support.

California divorce courts use a mandatory child support guideline to determine the amount of child support to be paid. This guideline is mandatory, and it is based on the actual after-tax-income of the parents and the amount of time each has physical custody of the children. Although the guideline is mandatory, the Divorce Judge may accept a different amount based on a written agreement by both parties, as long as the divorce court is satisfied the child support amount is reasonable and in the child's best interest.

Family Law Attorney Francisco Zavala will make sure that you receive adequate child support as required by law. If necessary, Family Law Attorney Francisco Zavala will seek immediate temporary orders for child support.

 

HEALTH INSURANCE

 

In addition to basic child support, health insurance for children MUST be made part of the child support order if it is available at a reasonable cost to either parent. Reasonable cost usually means that it is available as part of employment benefits or through membership in some group. The divorce court has the authority to order a spouse's employer to enroll the children in the employer's health plan. 

 

SHARED EXPENSES

 

In addition to basic child support, both parents are equally responsible for child care expenses if necessary to enable either parent to work. Both parents are equally responsible for health care expenses not covered by health insurance. Lastly, a divorce court may also order both parties to equally share expenses related to educational needs or special needs of a child. Sometimes, the divorce court may order that the above listed shared expenses be shared in proportion to each parent's net income.

 

DURATION OF CHILD SUPPORT

 

A child is entitled to support until the child reaches the age of 19 or, turns 18 and is no longer a full-time high school student. If parents agree in writing, child support can be ordered to age 21 or even through college. Child support, for a "disabled" minor or adult child who can't work due to disability, can be extended for the length of the disability.

 

If the spouses' incomes differ significantly and child support will be paid, the family can save on taxes by having the divorce court order the payment of "family support" instead of calling it "child support". All payments made for family support are tax deductible, whereas child support is not. The tax savings can then be shared with the children.

 

MODIFYING A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER

 

All child support orders and agreements can be modified at any time by either party to account for changed financial circumstances such as increased or decreased income, and increased or decreased cost of living. The changes in child support can be agreed upon by both parties or ordered by a court. If agreed upon, it is recommended that a new child support order be obtained from the court so as to ensure it is enforceable if there is non-compliance by the paying spouse.

 

 

 Contact Child Support Lawyer, Francisco M. Zavala, Esq. (661) 753-3534


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