At Minella Law Group, we take the welfare of your children seriously, and we use our skills and experience make sure all child support issues are handled as fairly and clearly as possible.
Child Support Awarded by the Court
California law makes both parents responsible for supporting their children. Courts use several factors as guidelines to decide how much each parent must contribute to supporting their children. At Minella Law Group, our lawyers work closely with you to document all the factors for both parents, so that the court can have an accurate financial snapshot of both parents’ finances. We make sure that each factor in your favor as to child support is presented for the court’s consideration.
Some of these child support consideration factors are:
- The actual income of each parent
- The level of responsibility each parent has for child custody
- Each parent’s standard of living, including their circumstances and station in life
- The legal requirement that children should share in the standard of living of both parents;
- Whether additional support amounts are needed, such as child care costs related to employment or to education that is reasonably necessary for a parent to gain employment skills.
The court will generally decide whether to award temporary or permanent child support, or both. A temporary child support order may be issued during any proceeding in which the child’s support is at issue, and the judge may order either or both parents to pay any amount necessary to support of the child. If you have sole or shared custody of your children, and need immediate financial support from the other parent in order to provide for them, we will seek a temporary support order for you as quickly as possible.
Generally, the duty of child support continues either until the child reaches age 18, or until age 19 if the child is still in high school. If you and the child’s other parent wish to extend child support beyond this period, we’ll prepare a formal legal agreement and submit it for approval by the court. That way, your children will have the continued legal right to that support from the available assets should the paying parent(s) suffer incapacity or death.
Reaching Agreement Outside of Court
Parents may reach agreement amongst themselves regarding child support responsibilities, instead of having a judge set the support amount. However, this agreement must then be approved by the judge, who will examine whether certain requirements are met, including whether the child’s needs will be adequately met.
If you and the child’s other parent prefer to reach your own agreement regarding child support, we’ll guide you through the negotiation and work to strengthen the prospect of your agreement being approved.
Modifying a Child Support Order
A child support order can be modified whenever there is a change of circumstances, which typically occurs when the income of either parent changes. Alternatively, parents may settle disputes over child support and modification by agreement, although the judge retains power to modify the support.
We will assist you with any concerns you may have if you believe the current support order is no longer appropriate.
Enforcing a Child Support Order
There are many different tools available to a judge if the parent who is ordered to pay support pays less than the amount ordered or does not pay at all.
For example, the judge may order a parent to provide a child support security deposit account or a bond, to ensure that the payments will be made. Another option is to obtain an order requiring that parent’s employer to withhold a certain amount of current support and back child support.