Child Support Lawyer in Orange County, CA
Parents have the legal obligation to support their children by paying for the children’s living expenses such as food, transportation, clothing, dwelling, education, and health care. This obligation is usually shared by spouses or partners living together.
When parents divorce or part ways, either parent can ask the judge to issue a court order obligating the other party to provide a fixed amount monthly as child support. Once the court orders a party to pay child support, the responsible party must consistently pay the determined monthly amounts or face serious consequences.
Cases That Include Child Support
A parent can apply for a child support order in any of the following types of proceedings:
- Legal separation
- Petition for Custody and Support
- Application for Domestic violence restraining order
How Much Child Support?
Parents are ordinarily encouraged to discuss and arrive at mutually acceptable terms for a child support agreement. After all, they are in the best position to know the exact needs of their children and their respective economic positions. If parents are unable to agree on child support, a judge will determine the amount of child support based on a formula or guideline for calculating the value of child support that must be paid.
The support guideline depends on several factors such as:
- The actual earnings and earning capacity of each of the parents
- The actual income of each parent
- The number of children that require support
- Time-share or the amount of time that each parent spends with the child or children
- The tax filing status of the parents
- Health insurance costs
- Value of support that either parent is obliged to pay for other children from other relationships
- Required retirement contributions and union dues, if any
- Daycare expenses
- Health care expenses of the child
- Educational needs of the child
- Travel expenses for visiting from one parent to the other
- Other expenses arising from the child’s special needs
Changing Child Support Amount
The guideline amount, once determined by the court, will be fixed in a court order and shall bind the parents unless significant changes in the circumstances of one or both parents warrant a modification of the child support order.
A modification of the child support order may only be granted in situations where the person seeking a change alleges and proves a significant change in:
- The income of the other parent
- The time-share or amount of time that the child spends with each parent
Importance of Consulting Child Support Attorney
Parents who are falling behind with their child support payments due to job loss or some severe situation must contact their attorney immediately about their current circumstances. A serious reason behind a parent’s default in child support payment will not excuse that parent from paying support until the court changes the child support order. Contact your attorney about missed payments and the possibility of changing the child support order due to recent developments in your life.
Note that an application for a change in the amount of child support will subject the current situation, particularly the income of the parents and the time-share with the child, to review, making it possible for the amount of child support to either increase or decrease, depending on the assessment of the court. It’s absolutely important to discuss the potential impact of the changed circumstances with your child support attorney who can assess your situation and advise you before you file or present your pleadings for modification or change in court.
On the other hand, a parent who does not receive the ordered amount of child support needs to notify their family law attorney about the other party’s default or failure to provide support. Your attorney can make use of existing remedies for collecting unpaid child support such as a wage assignment or garnishment of the defaulting parent’s salaries or wages.
In Mission Viejo, California, the family law attorney at the Law Office of Landon C. Villavaso have been helping families move on with their lives by obtaining or modifying child support orders according to their needs and circumstances. We invite you to call us at (949) 257-5188 to learn more about how we can help you today.