Child support is a financial obligation that is paid for the benefit of a child after a divorce. Some parents are resentful of this obligation because they think of it as payment to the other parent, and it is a payment they cannot control or monitor. However, parents should keep in mind that the amount ordered by the court is what is considered necessary to support the child and his or her living expenses. At the Calderone Law Firm, our family law lawyers can guide Manhattan Beach residents and other individuals through the process of figuring out what they will have to pay or receive and deciding whether it is appropriate to ask for any sort of deviation from the formula.Calculating Child Support Payments
California courts use the "income shares model" when calculating child support, which means that children are supposed to have the same degree of financial support that they would have had if their parents had not divorced and still lived together. Child support is paid monthly according to a statewide guideline. When parents cannot agree on an appropriate amount of support, the judge will simply follow the guideline to calculate what should be paid.
One of the most important considerations is a parent's net disposable income (income after taxes and deductions). The net disposable income may include bonuses, overtime, and non-wage income if an employee regularly receives these. However, it will not include CalWORKs, Supplemental Security Income, or General Assistance.
The formula considers the parent's income, the number of children, child custody and parenting time of each parent, health insurance expenses, any children from other relationships who must also be supported, the parent's tax filing status, mandatory union dues, retirement contributions, daycare costs, and other factors. The other factors include the special needs of a disabled child, educational needs, visitation travel, and childcare so that a parent can either work or get trained to work. How much time parents spend with their children in terms of hours or days is a big factor in the amount. Less child support is awarded when parents share equally in time with their child. While the presumption is that the guideline formula is correct, a judge can deviate from this amount in certain situations. For example, if you have a child with autism who needs to go to a private school or see a private therapist, it might be appropriate to ask for an upward deviation.
Sometimes parents fall behind in their child support payments, which means that they will ultimately owe not only the amount the court ordered but also legal interest at the rate of 10% per year for child support due on or after January 1, 1983 and 7% for what was due before then. When a parent fails to pay child support, there may be serious consequences, including the court deciding that the parent is in contempt of court, which can result in jail time.Protect Your Rights During a Divorce by Contacting a Manhattan Beach Lawyer
It is important for both parents to financially and emotionally support their children so that the children are not paying for the parents' decision to divorce. However, in some cases, it may be appropriate to deviate from the formula. If you are dealing with child support issues during a divorce, you can consult the experienced Manhattan Beach attorneys at the Calderone Law Firm to make sure that your children's best interests are represented. We assist individuals in Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, San Pedro, and Torrance. Call us at (310) 706-4101 or reach us via our online form to set up an appointment.