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Child Support

 

Child support is the amount of money that the court orders one parent to pay the other parent every month for the support of the child(ren). California has a formula (called a "guideline") for figuring out how much child support should be paid in all cases.  

If parents can't agree on child support, the judge will decide the child support amount based on the guideline calculation. 

The guideline calculation depends on: 

•How much money the parents earn or can earn,
            •How much other income each parent receives,
            •How many children these parents have together,
            •How much time each parent spends with their children,
            •The actual tax filing status of each parent,
            •Support of 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.  

Child support can also include the cost of special needs like: 

•Traveling for visitation from 1 parent to another,
            •Educational expenses, and
            •Other special needs.  

Child support payments are usually made until children turn 18, or 19 if they are still in high school full time, living at home, and can't support themselves. Parents may agree to support a child longer. The court may also order that both parents continue to support a disabled adult child that is not self-supporting.

 You can ask the judge to make a child support order when you: 

            •Get a divorce, legal separation, or annulment;
            •Establish parentage; or
            •Get a domestic violence restraining order.  

Parents who 

•Have signed a voluntary declaration of paternity, OR
            •Are married, or are registered domestic partners, and don't want to get legally
              separated or divorced can also ask for a child support order when they file a
              Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children

 Either parent can later ask the judge to change the amount if the situation changes.

 Parents can also ask the judge for help collecting (enforcing) a support order.


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Last modified: 05/10/07.
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