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Child Support

Child Support in California

Child support is money paid to one parent by the other for the benefit of the child. This money helps to ensure the child will share in the lifestyle and of both parents. The amount of child support one parent will pay to the other is determined in the state of California by calculating something called guideline child support. Coming up with this figure requires the use of computer software.

Essentially, California child support is based upon a number of factors. These include: the number of children, each parent's tax filing status, each parent's income, and the amount of time each parent spends with the children. Thereafter, the court must include- over and above guideline child support- any "add-ons." Add-ons is support paid over and above the basic child support. Each parent is requires to pay one-half of any uncovered medical and dental bills, and one-half of any day care expenses. The paying parent is not requires to help with extracurricular activities; this is the purpose of child support.

When calculating the amount of child support a parent must pay, the court only uses each parent's gross earnings, and not the amount of that parent's expenses. The court will not take into consideration either party's bills when determining how much one parent should pay the other.

Sometimes, the parents will have joint custody. Even if the parents have joint physical custody, this does not mean neither parent will be ordered to pay support.

Even if the parents share the children equally, the court may order that one parent pay the other child support in order to equalize the household incomes of the parties.

Child support will take away a significant part of the paying parent's income. The parent paying child support must budget his or her finances appropriately. If, after support is originally ordered, either parent's income changes in the future, either parent may file and Order to Show Cause. Since child support is based upon the amount of each parent's earnings, if either parent earns more money than when the order was originally established, guideline child support will change.

Although the court cannot order anything other than the amount of child support, you and the other parent can agree to any amount of child support, even if the figure is above or below "guideline." If the child support amount you agree on and placed in writing and signed by a judge, it will become an order, and therefore, enforceable.

Child support is paid until each minor child reaches the age of eighteen years old and is a highschool graduate, reaches the age of nineteen while still attending highschool fulltime, dies or becomes emancipated.

If you have a case pending, or a child support matter which needs to be addressed, we at McNamara & McNamara would encourage you to seek out legal advice now. Please fell free to call us immediately at our office number, or make contact with us through our web-sight on the contact page herein.


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