California law requires all parents to support their minor children financially. If you get a divorce, then this means that the court can order one parent to pay the other parent a certain amount of money for the support for their child or children. Some parents are able to come to an agreement on how much support one parent will pay. Often, though, disputes arise over this issue, leaving the court to decide what is fair and just. Whether you are petitioning for child support or may have to pay it, you should consult a qualified team of Santa Clara child support lawyers to ensure that your rights are protected.
Gomez Edwards Law Group, LLP approaches each child support case with the goal of obtaining the best possible outcome for the child. Our lawyers clarify support issues, evaluate the circumstances and develop a personalized legal strategy for you. Listening to and working closely with our clients is key to achieving a favorable outcome. We understand that your finances may be tight, so we work as efficiently as possible. Our lawyers stand by your side and can work hard to resolve the case in your favor.
In child support cases, the “custodial parent” is the parent with the greater time share of the children and usually provides their permanent home. The “noncustodial parent” is the one who has a lesser amount of time with the children. Generally, the custodial parent receives child support to provide for the children while they are in his or her care. The law’s intention is that to provide the children with a lifestyle as if both parents were still in the same household. However, in some uncommon circumstances, the custodial parent may be obligated to pay child support. Most child support orders include cost sharing for specific expenses, such as:
The law requires each parent to contribute according to his or her ability. The child support court generally considers the custodial parent to have fully satisfied their duty to the children by providing the permanent home. However, contribution in excess of the guideline calculation can be ordered when there is a large gap between the incomes of divorcing or separating parents. A parent may also claim a hardship, which might result in a support obligation lower than what the law would otherwise require.
Some parents think that if they do not work, then they will not have to pay support. However, this is not the case. The court has the discretion to “impute” an income to an unemployed or underemployed party. This means the court will determine that parent’s earning potential and base child support on that figure.
In Santa Clara and throughout California, child support calculations use a complex formula found in the California Family Code. The courts use a computer program called the Dissomaster to calculate child support guidelines. Parents may stipulate, or come to an agreement and file a request, on a reasonable amount of support. If the parents are unable to agree, then the judge will rule on the amount based on the guideline calculation. The judge may also deviate from the guideline if the circumstances call for it.
The guideline child support calculation includes factors such as:
A child support order is not permanent. Child support ends when the child reaches a specific age, usually 18. The court may also modify the agreement when there is a change of circumstances justifying such a modification. An increase or decrease in the income of a parent, a change in time share, or a new child from another relationship are just some of the reasons the court may change the order.
Gomez Edwards Law Group, LLP is a family law firm located in Santa Clara. We represent custodial and noncustodial in child support matters. Our experienced child support attorneys support your objectives and seek resolution in your favor. We regularly represent parents contesting or filing for child support. Contact our office online or call 408-413-1200 to speak with an attorney about your particular circumstances.