Santa Barbara Child Support Lawyer
Contact Santa Barbara Child Support Attorney
The decisions you make regarding you and your family in legal proceedings can affect you for the rest of your life. If you foresee any troubles in your marriage, or have been waiting to begin the process to receive child support payments that are rightfully yours, please contact our office today. Santa Barbara Child Support Attorney at Drury Pullen Law is experienced in California family law and are ready to help you through this difficult time. Call (805) 879-7523 or email us.
For parents, understanding their rights and obligations in child support matters can be difficult. When parents divorce or are unmarried the parent who does not live with their child is usually obligated to pay child support. Support is owed whether the child lives with their other parent or a third party, and whether or not the person with whom the child lives can afford to support the child on their own. Depending on the state, support may be owed even if the parents share custody.
Like other issues in regard to separation and divorce, child support may also be settled by written agreement or it may be determined in a court order. California, like other states, has adopted guidelines which establish rates of child support according to certain variable criteria related to family income and number of children.
The Child Support Guidelines
Support guidelines generally fall into one of three categories. Each uses a different approach to establish the amount of support, though they all consider the needs of the child. Provisions for medical costs and insurance are generally added to the basic amount suggested by the state guidelines.
The complex formula the court uses to determine child support factors in details such as time spent with the children, how much the parents make, and their deductions. To complete the calculation, it is necessary to know the following.
- Childcare costs either parent incurs
- Mandatory payroll deductions, including those for union dues, pensions, and health insurance
- Income tax deductions, such as mortgage interest, available to either parent
- How much time each parent spends with each child (percentage)
- The gross income of each parent
Can Child Support Differ From the Calculated Amount?
When the child support guidelines were created in California, lawmakers took into consideration that the figure determined by the equation may not always be reasonable or fair. Because of this, the legislature developed a list of circumstances that may allow a judge to assign a figure that is lower or higher than that of the guideline formula. Such factors may include:
- Special needs, medical or otherwise, that may require additional monetary contributions
- Situations in which the parents each spend the same amount of time with the children, but one parent pays a significantly higher or lower portion of their income towards housing
- A parent who doesn’t contribute to the children’s needs in a way that matches their custodial time
- The paying parent earns an extremely high income, and the figure determined by the guideline would greatly exceed the children’s needs
There are additional reasons that allow a judge to add to the child support order determined by the guideline equation, such as:
- Discretionary add-ons. The court may add to a parent’s child support payment for things such as education-related expenses and travel costs for visitation.
- Mandatory add-ons. The court must add on to a parent’s child support payment for any reasonable children’s health care costs not covered by insurance and costs that are related to education and training necessary for employment.
A judge may require parents to share add-on expenses equally. However, they may impose an unequal allocation if they deem it necessary. A skilled family law attorney can help parents understand the many factors involved in determining child support payments.
How Long Does a Parent Have to Pay Child Support in California?
When parents go through a divorce and a child custody arrangement is determined, the state of California requires the non-custodial parent to pay child support as long as the children are under the age of eighteen. This timeframe may be extended to the children’s nineteenth birthday if they still live at home and haven’t graduated from high school.
There are also a few scenarios in which a parent may stop paying child support before the eighteenth birthday, including the following.
- The child passes away
- The child becomes emancipated
- The child joins the armed forces
- The child gets married
When a parent has questions about the timeframe or amount they will need to pay in child support, it is vital to discuss matters with an experienced Santa Barbara Child Support Lawyer.
Enforcement of Child Support Order
Child support may be enforced by the Court in a number of ways, including, wage withholding, garnishment, incarceration for contempt of court as well as other remedies. Where child support is agreed to in a separation agreement, or ordered by the court, and then not paid, there are a number of remedies to secure enforcement of the agreement or court order. If the child support is set up in a contractual agreement, the basic remedy is suit for breach of the contract, which would include a claim for the arrears. If child support is payable under a court order, whether originally established as a court order or entered as a result of a suit for breach of contract, the order is enforceable through the contempt powers of the court and penalties, including jail for non-compliance may be imposed.
California child support laws and procedures are very complicated and should not be handled without consulting an attorney first. Therefore it is imperative that you consult with an experienced family law attorney before making any decisions regarding your child support matters.
Contact A Child Support Attorney In Santa Barbara
Child support should be taken very seriously and it is important to be proactive about securing you and your child’s financial future. It is an unfortunate truth, but a truth nonetheless – parents will say or do just about anything to increase or decrease the child support payments they receive or pay, and the advantage lies with the first mover. If you foresee any troubles in your marriage, or have been waiting to begin the process to receive child support payments that are rightfully yours, please contact our office today. Santa Barbara Child Support Attorney at Drury Pullen Law is experienced in California family law and are ready to help you through this difficult time. Call (805) 879-7523 or email us.