California Guideline Child Support is Presumptively Correct Amount to Support Children
While the formula is complicated and depends on several factors, largely the amount of support in California is based on the non-custodial parent's income and percentage of visitation. The formula takes into account each parent's income and level of responsibility for the children, and reflects the increased costs of raising the children in two homes. It is presumed that a parent having primary physical responsibility for the children already contributes a significant portion of available resources for support.
So, the first step in any child support determination is assessing each parties' average monthly gross income and establishing the percentage timeshare between the parents.
California Guideline Child Support Determination
In most cases, child support is a significant sum of money. By way of example, assuming there is one child with zero visitation, child support is approximately 25% of the payor's take-home pay.
There is typically a wide range of legally possible outcomes depending on how you input the various factors into the formula. A skilled attorney is necessary to manipulate the data to your best advantage. Whether you are the payor or the recipient of child support payments, I will be reviewing all relevant factors in your case to assure that you are either paying or receiving an appropriate amount of support. Contact my office for an evaluation based on your particular circumstances. You can't afford NOT to hire an attorney.
Child Support Add-Ons
In addition to the guideline support amount, California courts typically order, as additional support, one-half of any day care costs necessary to maintain employment, as well as one-half of any uninsured health care costs (any out-of-pocket costs not covered by insurance -- deductible, co-payment, etc. -- whatever insurance doesn't pay). This can equate to a significant amount of additional support. In many cases, these routine add-ons were not ordered because the recipient never requested it. Whether you want to establish new court orders concerning support, have any questions concerning enforcement of these orders, or would just like a review of your current orders to assure that you are receiving all that you are entited to, a skilled lawyer can be invaluable. Please feel free to contact the Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf for specific advise that is custom-tailored to your specific circumstances.
Payment of Support via Wage Assignment
To assure that children actually receive timely and sufficient support, support payments are made via wage assignment, meaning an Order/Notice to Withhold Child Support form is served on the payor's employer. The child support money is taken directly out of the payor's check and transferred to the recipient (typically the cutodial parent). Wage assignment orders are very common and do not carry with them any negative connotations (compared to a garnishment).
How Long Child Support is Payable
As a general rule, California child support is payable until the child has attained the age of 18 AND has graduated from high school, no longer than age 19. By way of example, if your child graduates from high school at the age of 17, child support continues until the child reaches age 18. If your child is 18 but has not yet graduated from high school, then support is payable until the child reaches age 19. Except that support may continue for a disabled child who is not self-supporting. The parents may, however, agree that child support continue past these guidelines. Many support orders are not self-terminating and it may be necessary to hire an attorney. BEFORE your child emancipates, it is important that you consult with a qualified attorney who practices Family Law in California.