Santa Barbara Child Support Lawyer
Contact Santa Barbara Child Support Lawyer
Divorce is always a difficult and emotional time in someone’s life. There are a lot of difficult and specific elements of a divorce and gets much more complicated if children are involved. It’s always best to contact a knowledgeable Santa Barbara Child Support Lawyer at Drury Pullen Law who can help with your situation specifically. Call (805) 879-7523 or email us.
How is child support calculated?
Child support is a court order for a certain amount of money divorced or separated parents must pay each month to help cover their children’s living expenses. In California, the child’s best interest is the court’s number one priority. That is why the calculation process to determine how much child support should be paid is very complex. To figure out the net disposable income, the court will first determine gross annual income, subtract certain deductions and divide that by 12 for the monthly amount.
The court will look at the following factors:
- How much money the parents earn or can earn
- How much other income the parent receives
- How many children these parents have together
- How much time each parent spends with the child/children
- The actual tax-filing status of each parent
- Support of children from other relationships
- Health insurance expenses
- Mandatory union dues
- Mandatory retirement contributions
- The cost of sharing day-care and uninsured health-care costs
Parents are obligated to support their child until a child turns 18 years old except when the 18 year old is still a full-time high school student and lives with the parent. In that situation, child support will terminate once the child turns 19 or graduates from high school, whichever comes first.
Keep in mind, in some cases, the court has the discretion to order a child support for a different amount that what was suggested based on the guideline. The court can make low-income adjustment by ordering a lower amount of child support if a parent’s net disposable income is less than $1,000. Also, the court has discretion to make any adjustments based on the best interest of the child like:
- If one parent has an extraordinarily high income
- The parent spend nearly equal time with the children and one parent uses a much higher or lower percentage of income on housing
- The children have special medical or other needs requiring greater amount of support
There are certain child-related expenses that courts can add such as the mandatory health care add on or the add on used for employment purposes or to attend training necessary for employment. The court can also add other expenses for education, travel or special needs and will usually be divided between the parents equally. The best thing you can do is contact an experienced Santa Barbara child support lawyer who can help with your case specifically.
Child Support Process
The child support process usually starts from either a divorce or paternity filing or through the California department of Child Support Services action. Regardless, the most important part is the income and expense declaration. If it is not complete, it could have serious impact on the child support request. Often, self represented parents do not properly complete the income and expense declaration. The most common mistakes include the failure to complete every section or leaving out the income verification documents. To avoid such mistakes, contact a licensed family lawyer.
Modification of Child Support Orders
Child support is a legal obligation for one parent to the child, however, there may be instances where one parent cannot or does not want to continue to pay the support. There are many reasons why a child support order might be in need of a change such as the the parent’s income changing, one parent losing his or her job, one parent being incarcerated, one parent had another child in another relationship or things of that sort.
In order for the court to approve a change, you have to show that there has been a “change in circumstances” since the last child support order was made. It’s best to contact an experienced Santa Barbara family law lawyer who can help you specifically with your case.
If one parent simply chooses to not pay, the state of California does not take that lightly. It is extremely important that if anyone anticipates a change in circumstances, they notify the family court immediately so the child support can be modified and you won’t fall behind on the payments. Courts will not retroactively change the amount of support that was owed.
If parents can reach an agreement on a new amount of child support, they can write it up as a stipulation and give it to the judge for a signature. But if the parents cannot agree on the change, they must file a motion with the court.
Child support payments are automatically suspended when the parent who has to pay child support is in jail, prison or is institutionalized against his or her will for more than 90 days. Once the person is released from jail or the institution, child support payments start again at the amount they were before they were suspended.
If you need to change the amount because you are not working or cannot afford the same payments you were making before going to jail or being institutionalized, you have to ask the court to change your payment. Child support and the factors that go into it can get pretty tricky. It’s always best to consult with an experienced Santa Barbara child support lawyer.
Contact Santa Barbara Child Support Lawyer
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 Lawyer 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.