Child Support

Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support Orders

An Informative Guide to Child Support in California

Child support orders can be confusing, and litigating the issue can lead to a wide range of problems for divorcing couples. From anger to financial strain, child support can be a major hurdle for many parents. Child support is very straightforward in California, and parents can find the answers to many of the most common questions in this informative guide.

Most Asked Questions About Child Support in California

Is there a formula for child support payments?

Child support payments for minor children in California are calculated using the CA Uniform Guideline for Child Support, which can be found in the CA Family Code, section 4050.

How are child support payments and visitation connected?

According to the Statewide Uniform Guideline for Child Support, the more time a higher-earning parent spends with their minor children, the more impact visitation has on support awards. The guideline states that visitation is but one factor impacting support, but it does affect the support award. The judge will have the final determination of how heavily visitation will be weighed.

Does the parent who pays child support also have to cover additional expenses for a minor child?

Child support guidelines instruct noncustodial parents to contribute to additional financial expenses for their child.

These additional fees and expenses include many costs, like:

  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Private School Tuition
  • Additional Childcare Costs
  • Out of Pocket or Uncovered Medical Expenses
  • Additional Educational Expenses

Can my child be removed from my ex’s medical insurance?

No. California law requires both parents to provide medical insurance for their children if it does not cause financial hardship. This requirement applies to medical, vision, and dental insurance coverage.

Are child support payments deducted from your paycheck?

After your divorce is finalized, the judge in your case will sign an earnings assignment order that is sent to your ex’s employer that will initiate deduction of child support payments from the payee’s paycheck.

What happens if I can’t afford to pay my child support order?

A child support order doesn’t end until it expires naturally or there is a modification or formal order that changes the original court order. Parents struggling to pay child support shouldn’t wait or hope the situation will turn itself around. Past due child support payments can quickly become a problem. If you miss payments or make reduced payments, your past due balance, or child support arrearage, will grow quickly. Additionally, a 10% per year interest penalty is added to any unpaid balance. If you cannot pay your order, seek a modification to your judgment immediately.

If My Ex Doesn’t Need Child Support, Can We Agree to Forego It?

No. You and your spouse aren’t permitted to create an agreement that eliminates the requirement for child support. California law requires both parents to support a minor child until they are adults. Any legal agreement created that challenges the establishment of child support is unenforceable because it is not permissible and violates California public policy. You can make an agreement that allows one parent to take primary responsibility for a minor child.

Does child support automatically end?

A parent is obligated to pay for the support of minor children. Once a child reaches 18 years, the support order ends unless the child is still in high school. The extension extends until the child reaches 19 years old or finishes high school. An exception to this rule is if your child has debilitating special needs. In specific cases, the court may extend support into adulthood for dependent adult children.

If I’m separated from my spouse, can I receive child support?

Legal separation is available in California. If you aren’t ready to file for divorce, you can file for a legal separation, which clarifies the rights and responsibilities of each party while you live apart. This process doesn’t end a marriage or partnership, but it does provide enforceable court orders for support, custody, and financial separation until you are ready to file for divorce.

Elk Grove Child Support Attorneys

Understanding the legal system can be challenging, but our Elk Grove family lawyers are available to help parents navigate issues of child support and custody. Our team is available for consultations right now, so whether you’re seeking a modification or trying to enforce a child support order, we can help. Call us today at (916) 571-1550 to schedule a consultation.