First, you don’t need to hire an attorney to resolve child support. A People’s Choice can help you figure out and calculate what California guideline support would be under current California child support laws. This would include any California Mandatory Child Support Add-ons that may affect a child support payment. Keep in mind, parents do not have to agree to a guideline support order nor require the payment of additional monies that would be considered California Mandatory Child Support Add-ons. The Guideline support calculation is only necessary if the parents cannot agree to child support between themselves.
A People’s Choice can also help you get a child support order or modify a current order. Our non-attorney legal document preparation service has helped thousands of parents in California get an order for financial help from non-custodial parents to care for their child. Read on to learn more about child support laws in California and how A People’s Choice can help you.
California Child Support Laws
California child support laws can be found in Family Code Section 4053. For a more in-depth look about how California child support laws determine child support, please refer to our article on California Child Support Guidelines. As mentioned above, parents do not have to agree to a guideline support order. The court involves itself with Guideline support only when parents cannot agree to a child support amount, and a judge has to decide. The court considers various things when determining how much money each parent must pay monthly for child support. These are:
- How much each parent earns (gross income) from work and other sources
- How many children the parties have together
- Each parent’s tax filing status (single, married, head of household, etc.)
- Health insurance expenses
- The amount each parent pays for Union dues and required retirement contributions
- Child care and healthcare expenses
Custodial Time Affects Child Support Calculations
The amount of time each parent spends with each child directly affects the amount of money that parent has to pay to the parent who has the most custodial time with the children. For example, a mother who spends 30% of her time per month with her child will likely pay less in child support in comparison to if she only spent 20% of her time with them.
Non-Guideline Support Orders
Courts can make an order that is different than California guideline standards under certain circumstances. As previously mentioned, parents can agree to a different child support amount and have the judge approve their agreement. If the amount agreed upon is above the guideline amount, the court will likely approve the request. If the amount is below the guideline amount, the court will also support the lower amount. Keep in mind, however, the court can always increase an under-guideline support order without a change of circumstances. Obviously, if the parties cannot agree to a child support order, either parent can file a motion to have the court determine child support.
California Mandatory Child Support Add-Ons
The laws for child support in California also include an allowance for California mandatory child support add-ons. These add-ons include:
- Child care costs that one or both parents must pay so they can work or continue with any necessary education or training for their job.
- Noncovered, reasonable health care expenses for the children. These expenses include co-pays, deductibles or other medical costs that insurance does not cover.
In addition to the California mandatory child support add-ons, there are also optional child support add-ons. These discretionary expenses may include:
- Costs related to educational or other unusual expenses for special needs children with developmental disorders or other severe disabilities.
- Travel expenses for visitation. If the parents do not live geographically near each other, the court may consider travel expenses for visitation if visitation requires the purchase of airplane, train, gas or other costs.
Keep in mind, the base guideline child support calculation does not include these extra California mandatory child support add-ons nor the optional add-ons.
Retroactive Child Support
A parent may request a judge award child support payments retroactively. This means a parent’s responsibility to pay support could start back to the filing date of the child support request. This retroactive order could also include California mandatory child support add-ons. Parents should try to resolve child support issues as soon as possible to prevent a retroactive order that could put a significant burden on the paying parent.
Is Child Support Mandatory?
Child Support is Mandatory in California; however, the parties can agree to a zero child support order and disregard the California Mandatory Child Support Add-Ons. Under California law, both parents must provide for the financial maintenance of their children. This law does not prevent the parents agreeing to a lesser child support amount or no child support at all. A court can hold a parent in contempt of court if they do not pay their child support obligation. An action of contempt would include a parent’s failures to pay any expenses required under California Mandatory Child Support Add-Ons.
Contact A People’s Choice for more information about our legal document preparation service. We can help you calculate what California guideline support would be as well as mandatory California child support add-ons. If you cannot agree on a child support order with the other parent, we can help you file a request and motion for child support with your local court. Call us today at 800-747-2780.