California child support: Three of your top questions answered

Most divorcing parents have questions about child support, whether they expect to be on the receiving end or the paying end.

Here are some of the most important questions California parents may have and the answers they need to know.

1. How is support determined?

No matter where you live in California, the same state guidelines are used. There are online calculators that you can use to get an idea of the amount of support that you would be responsible for contributing toward your child's care -- but it's important to note that those programs, although provided by the state, are merely estimators. Child support can be subject to increases or decreases based on things like how often each parent has physical custody of the child, whether or not the child has special needs and whether or not one parent is already paying for the children's insurance directly out of his or her pay.

2. Can child support be used by the receiving parent for housing and other expenses?

Yes. As a general rule, child support is meant to provide the child with the lifestyle that he or she would have enjoyed if his or her parents weren't divorced. Sometimes that has the effect of also improving the lifestyle of the parent with primary custody because the support can be used to afford a nicer home in a better neighborhood for the child to enjoy, a car that is reliable to take the child back and forth to school or other activities and similar items. As long as the child benefits in some way from the expense, the use of child support to pay a bill is acceptable.

3. When does child support end?

In some states, parents can be required to pay support through a child's college years. In California, however, support ends when the child turns 18 if he or she has already graduated high school. If not, it ends when the child either graduates high school or turns 19, whichever comes first. There are some additional reasons that support can end early. For example, if the child marries or joins the military, support will cease.

For more answers to your child support questions, talk to an attorney today.

Source: Findlaw, "California Child Support Guidelines," accessed May 12, 2017

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