The cost of raising a child is high, and many people cannot financially support a child on their own. In many instances in which people who have a child together decide to end their relationship, the court will deem it necessary to order one parent to make payments to the other parent for the financial support of the child. Although California child support guidelines dictate how support should be calculated, the judge determining a support obligation can deviate from the guidelines under certain circumstances. At Hinely Law, our Colusa and Lake County child support lawyers can advocate for parents who are seeking support, as well as parents who may need to pay support.Duration of a Child Support Obligation
Under California law, either parent may be ordered to pay child support until his or her child turns 18 years old, unless the child is still in high school, in which case the obligation will continue until the child turns 19 or graduates from high school. A child support obligation also will be terminated if a child gets married, dies, joins the military, or is legally emancipated. Notably, in cases involving a child with special needs, the court may order the support obligation to continue even after the child reaches the age of majority.
Although a support obligation may continue until a child reaches adulthood, this does not mean that the amount of support owed is permanent. Either parent can seek a modification. In assessing whether a modification is necessary, the court will evaluate whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances, such as a change in the child's needs or an increase or decrease in either parent's income. A child support attorney in Colusa or Lake County can help a parent pursue a modification to the support amount.How Child Support is Calculated
The California child support guidelines employ what is known as an income shares model of determining the amount of support owed. In other words, pursuant to the guidelines, the court will first calculate the net disposable income of each parent. A person's net disposable income is the income that remains after federal and state taxes and other mandatory deductions have been withdrawn. The court will then determine the amount of money needed to financially support the child, based on the parents’ combined income.
Ultimately, the support obligation will be determined based on the percentage of each parent’s income that makes up the total amount needed to support the child and based on each parent’s time-share, which is how much time each parent has physical custody of the child. For example, a parent who is obligated to pay support who has equal physical custody with the co-parent will pay less than if they have physical custody of the child for only 25% of the time. Our Colusa and Lake County child support attorneys can explain how the interactions between custody and support may affect your case.
In addition to ordering a parent to provide child support payments, the court may order one parent to pay for medical bills that are not covered by insurance, travel costs related to visitation, and the costs of child care.Contact an Experienced Child Support Attorney
Each parent has an obligation to support his or her child financially, but sometimes court intervention is needed to define the parameters of the obligation. If you wish to seek child support, or if you have received notice that your co-parent has instituted a child support action, you should discuss your case with the attorneys at Hinely Law. We represent people in child support cases in Colusa, Lake, Sutter, and Yuba Counties. We have an office located in Colusa, where you can contact us by calling (530) 458-2950, and an office located in Lakeport, where you can contact us by calling (707) 995-7006. You can reach us at either office or through our form online to schedule a free and confidential meeting with a child support lawyer in Colusa or Lake County.