Child support can be a touchy subject following a divorce. Parents obviously love their children, but paying an ex-spouse can be frustrating.
The purpose of child support is to provide a quality lifestyle to your children. However, the process can be confusing, and you may have questions.
Here are a few things you need to know about child support in California:
How California calculates child support
The state relies on a formula to determine child support payments. This formula is complex, and the court uses a licensed software to do all calculations.
The formula takes all your income into account. This includes earned income, but also other sources as well. Income from investments and reoccurring interest factors into the equation.
If you are a business owner, certain business expenses or cash flows count towards this figure as well.
The court also weighs how much time a parent spends with their child. More time spent with a child can lower the amount owed in child support.
Visitation rights do not affect child support
Some people think child support is only required if a person has visitation with the child. This is simply not true. Visitation rights are a completely independent issue.
Child support payments are due whether a parent has visitation rights or not.
Only a judge can modify support amounts
Occasionally parents develop their own payment plan outside of court. They mistakenly believe this will replace court-ordered child support. Only the court can lower or raise your support amount.
Past-due support accrues interest
Unpaid child support can quickly get expensive. California charges interest on all unpaid support, and a couple missed payments can be difficult to overcome.
There are only a few events that warrant modifying child support orders, such as a job loss or going to jail.
It doesn’t account for all expenses
Child support covers basic expenses, such as a place to live and food. The courts do not take other expenses into account when formulating child support.
This means that even if you are paying child support, you may have to provide additional payments for things like tuition or unforeseen medical costs.
Many newly-divorced parents are unsure of how child support works. This is normal. The process of calculating child support is complex, and sometimes it can be difficult to know what you are expected to contribute.
If you have any questions regarding child support or parental rights, a family law attorney is a great resource.