Child Support

Child Support Lawyers in Los Angeles

Child support is the monthly amount of money the court orders a parent to pay for the child(ren)’s cost of living. It is determined by a computer program. Once all the relevant factors are input into the program, the resulting amount will be a “guideline” amount. It all starts with California Family Code, §4053, and the importance the legislature has placed on child support.

“In implementing the statewide uniform guideline, the courts shall adhere to the following principles:

  • A parent’s first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children according to the parent’s circumstances and station in life.
  • Both parents are mutually responsible for the support of their children.
  • The guideline takes into account each parent’s actual income and level of responsibility for the children. (d) Each parent should pay for the support of the children according to his or her ability.
  • The guideline seeks to place the interests of children as the state’s top priority.
  • Children should share in the standard of living of both parents. Child support may therefore appropriately improve the standard of living of the custodial household to improve the lives of the children.
  • Child support orders in cases in which both parents have high levels of responsibility for the children should reflect the increased costs of raising the children in two homes and should minimize significant disparities in the children’s living standards in the two homes.
  • The financial needs of the children should be met through private financial resources as much as possible.
  • It is presumed that a parent having primary physical responsibility for the children contributes a significant portion of available resources for the support of the children.
  • The guideline seeks to encourage fair and efficient settlements of conflicts between parents and seeks to minimize the need for litigation.
  • The guideline is intended to be presumptively correct in all cases, and only under special circumstances should child support orders fall below the child support mandated by the guideline formula.
  • Child support orders must ensure that children actually receive fair, timely, and sufficient support reflecting the state’s high standard of living and high costs of raising children compared to other states. ”
    In essence, the guideline calculation looks at several factors:
  • How much money the parents earn or can earn (yes, a parent can be imputed earnings if working below their income ability);
  • The time share arrangement;
  • The tax filing status of each parent;
  • Whether or not there are other children from other relationships;
  • Health insurance expenses;
  • Mandatory union dues;
  • Mandatory retirement contributions;
  • The cost of sharing daycare and uninsured health-care costs; and
  • Other factors.
    • The court can also take into account the following:
      • Childcare;
      • Travel expenses to visit a parent;
  • Child(ren)’s education or other special needs.

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