Child Support in California

Child support in California is the amount of money that a court orders one parent to pay to the other parent every month to provide support for their child. California provides guidelines for the calculation of child support which takes into consideration the ratio of time each parent spends with the children and each parent’s income. Under California law, child support payments usually continue until the child:

  • Marries or registers a domestic partnership
  • Dies
  • Is emancipated
  • Turns 18 and is not a full-time high school student, or turns 19, whichever occurs first.

Parents may agree to support a child for a longer period of time. If a child is disabled, the court may also order that both parents continue to support that child when he or she becomes an adult, if they are unable to support themselves.

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California Child Support Services

You can seek a child support order through various legal venues such as divorce, legal separation, annulment, paternity, a domestic violence restraining order, or by special petition in certain circumstances.

If the parties agree on a support amount, they can file a Stipulation and Order in their case without having to go through a formal hearing. If the parent seeking support is receiving public assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF), the local Department of Child Support Services will automatically start a child support case against the other parent. This agency will also have to approve any order for support in a divorce or legal separation proceeding and they will collect your support for you.

Child support in California can always be modified. You can ask for a change in your child support amount when there is a change in circumstances. For example, if the amount of time one parent spends with the child changes, you can ask for a change in your child support. If one party’s income dramatically increases or decreases, you can seek a modification of support. However, if the parties agreed to a child support amount below the guideline amount, you do not need a change of circumstances to change child support.
Every county has a local child support agency to help you obtain, change and collect child support at no charge. You can also file a support earnings withholding order to have child or spousal support payments collected out of the other party’s employment check.

**All motions or responses include a comprehensive supporting declaration.

Motion/Contested Matters (does not include preparation of Orders After  Hrg) Price
Custody or Visitation Motion (RFO) $475
Custody, Visitation and/or Support Motion (RFO) $575
Emergency Custody or Visitation Motion (RFO)
Includes request for temporary orders.
$900 min. (incudes RUSH processing)
Emergency Custody, Visitation, Support Motion
Includes request for temporary orders.
$975 min. (includes RUSH processing)
Custody, Visitation and Support Motion with Paternity Petition $875
Ex Parte to Terminate Child Support at 18 $250
Motion for Change of Venue $575
Motion for Gillmore Election $775
Other specialty motions $575+ requires quote
Motion for Bifurcation and Final Judgment documentation $825
Restraining Order- civil or domestic (no children) $400 min.
Restraining Order (with children) $575 min.

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