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Child support orders must be followed, and they can have a huge financial impact on both parents for years to come. As such, it's very important to really know all of the ins and outs of the situation when it arises, so that you fully understand your rights and obligations. Below are a few key things to keep in mind.

-- You must keep accurate records of when you make payments and how much you pay. Do not put yourself in a situation where your ex can falsely claim you didn't pay and you can't prove that you did. Record every transaction.

-- Remember that DNA testing can be used. There could be a case where you're asked to pay child support for a child that you don't think is yours, especially if you and the child's mother are not married. If this happens, DNA testing can sort things out.

-- If you're behind on payments, make an effort to pay, even if you can't afford the full amount. A judge will like that you're at least trying when it's hard, whereas paying nothing makes it look like you simply don't care.

-- Stay current on all of your child support payments or you may be forced to pay through wage garnishment. When this happens, your employer basically has to turn over the money, taking it from your paycheck, so you lose any control over the process.

If you're involved in paying child support, it's crucial to know all of your rights and legal options in California, ensuring that payments are fair and in keeping with your custody situation and your income levels.

Source: CNN Money, "Child Support," accessed April 29, 2016

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