Child Support Lawyers in San Jose
Advocating for You and Your Child’s Best Interests
There are various reasons that two parents may not raise their children together. Perhaps a marriage couldn’t work out, or maybe there was never any serious romantic relationship. Regardless of the underlying circumstance, one parent will often have to make child support payments to the other parent. However, these issues can get complex. That’s why you should speak with a child support lawyer in San Jose, CA today.
At Argyris Mah, LLP, our team of family law attorneys has extensive experience in child custody and support issues. Even if you go through a local child support agency — of which there are dozens in California — state law will still dictate the specifics of a support order. Unfortunately, many parents end up paying more or receiving less than they deserve because they don’t have legal representation. Our law firm can help.
Who Has to Make Child Support Payments?
There’s a common belief that child support services will require men to pay child support. However, this is not always the case. Typically, it’s the non-custodial parent who has to make these payments. Of course, there are many situations where parents share joint custody. This can make determining child support more complicated — particularly under California law.
That’s because California looks at more than just parental income when determining child support obligations. They also look at the amount of time spent with each parent. As such, a lower-earning spouse may actually have to pay child support to their higher-earning ex. This can happen when parents earn similar incomes in a joint physical custody situation.
Clearly, these issues can be complicated. That’s why you should consider speaking with a San Jose child support attorney to figure out your rights and obligations. And since we offer free consultations at Argyris Mah, LLP, there’s no reason not to reach out today.
What Factors Go Into Calculating Child Support?
Several factors go into calculating child support in California. These include the gross income of both parents, the amount of time spent with the child, and the disposable monthly income of each parent. Disposable income can significantly affect the calculation, and factors such as health insurance premiums, preexisting child support, and alimony payments can play a role.
A judge will consider all these factors when issuing a child support order. However, they are not always bound by the results of the child support calculation. Certain circumstances may warrant a lesser or greater payment amount. Such situations include parental agreements, extraordinarily high incomes, instances where children have special medical needs, and when there are more than two legal parents (California law allows for this).
Additional circumstances can also result in a child support order that differs from typical calculations. Understanding whether your situation qualifies is important. That’s why you should contact our child support attorneys in San Jose, CA for a free consultation today.
Does a Parent Have Legal Rights When They Pay Child Support?
When a child support order is issued by the courts, it’s typically the case that both parents have certain rights with their offspring. However, paying child support is not what grants these rights. The simple fact is that both parents have a legal obligation to support their children financially. This is true even if they have no other privileges.
For instance, envision a scenario where a judge grants sole legal and physical custody to one parent without visitation for the other. Even though the non-custodial parent seemingly has no rights to their child, this does not negate their responsibility to provide financial support. A parent can return to court to seek visitation or custody, but child support issues are separate altogether.
Is It Possible to Modify Child Support Payments?
A child support order is not always a permanent thing. In addition to obligations typically ceasing at a certain age, requesting child support modifications is also possible. Suppose two parents have a stipulated agreement for a certain amount of support that’s less than the state calculation. In that case, they can request a modification to an existing child support order at any time. However, any other modification is only allowable when a significant change in circumstances has occurred.
Various situations can fall into this category. For instance, income or job status changes could allow for a modification. Court orders may also be modified if a substantial change occurs in a parent’s time with their child. Even having a child with someone else could warrant a modification to an existing order. Like other issues involving child support in California, changing a court order can be complex. That’s why you should have a legal professional on your side.
California Child Support FAQs
1. Is there a limit on the dollar amount of support that one party can be ordered to pay?
California does not provide a cap for the amount of support that one party can potentially be ordered to pay, unlike many other states. The guideline amount is typically the amount ordered. However, there are circumstances in which the court can and does deviate from the guideline support amount.
2. Is there any remedy if the guideline amount is far greater than what is reasonably necessary to raise a child?
It is possible for the guideline calculation to generate an amount that seems much greater than what most people would think is reasonably necessary to raise a child. What is necessary to raise a child varies from case to case and depends on the child’s lifestyle while the marriage endured. The law provides that a child is entitled to have a lifestyle commensurate with that of his parents. Therefore, in instances when the guideline child support calculated is so excessive that it bears no reasonable relation to either the lifestyle of the parents or the amount of support required to raise a child commensurate with that lifestyle, the court can and may deviate from the guideline.
3. What income is included in the calculation?
Earned income from employment, any and all cash flow from businesses, and recurring interest and investment income can all be included. California law requires that income from all sources be considered. Many people think that the calculation is based on the income reported in a tax return only. However, this is not the case. Often people use personal expenses as business expenses for tax purposes. When this occurs, any expense that is solely for the benefit of a business owner and is not a true expense will be added back to income for the purposes of calculating child support.
4. What happens when the parent receiving support does not use it for the child but instead uses it for personal or other purposes?
Unfortunately, this does happen quite often. In many cases, nothing can be done about this issue, despite best efforts. Guideline support is provided for basic living expenses. It does not include such things as private school tuition, swim lessons, music lessons, summer camp, etc. These costs are usually divided between the parents equally in addition to guideline child support that is paid.
5. Does the parent receiving child support have to pay for all child expenses?
No. As outlined above, child support is for basic living expenses only. Any expenses over and above the basics are usually equally divided between the parents unless they have an agreement otherwise.
6. Is the amount of support the same for each child when there are multiple children?
No, the calculations provide different amounts of support for each child. The youngest child is typically apportioned the most support. The law believes that the younger the child, the higher support needed, which generally doesn’t make sense but the way the legislature sees fit to apportion support.
7. Does child support continue through college graduation?
No. Child Support is terminated when the child reaches the age of 18 and has graduated from high school. If the child reaches 18 and is still a full-time high school student, then child support will continue until the child reaches 19 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs first.
8. What if either parent’s financial circumstances change after the court has ordered child support?
Child support is always modifiable if there is a change in one or both parent’s financial circumstances. It can also be subject to modification if there is a change in one parent’s timeshare with the child.
Contact a Child Support Lawyer in San Jose, CA Today
Few family law issues can get as complicated and emotional as a child support case. If you’re living through this scenario, you know that matters can quickly become difficult. And even if initial child support issues were handled long ago, changes in circumstances can bring these stressors back to the surface. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through this on your own. A Santa Clara County family law firm can help.
At Argyris Mah, LLP, we advocate fiercely for our clients in their child support cases. Our team of legal professionals understands the difficulties you’re facing, and we know that it can sometimes be hard to even comprehend how the system works. That’s why we’re here to help. Whether you need help requesting, enforcing, modifying, or fighting back against unfair child support orders, we have the experience necessary to assist.