Raising a child is no small feat, and any parent can attest that the funds associated with it are abundant. In a two-parent household, this is easily managed; however, when parent split or divorce, splitting these costs can be challenging. In most cases, a child support order will determine the amount, if any, should be paid to the other parent and what costs will be split evenly. This may seem straightforward; however, some parents have a challenging time reaching an agreement or maintaining the support order when finances change.
Child support guidelines
Like each state, California has child support guidelines. These can be very helpful for parents, as it outlines how support is determined based on certain factors. When child support is necessary in a California family law matter, the court will make a support decision based on the income levels of each parent and the amount of parenting time each parent has.
When arriving at an amount, the expenses involved as well as the means for a parent to pay are assessed. This regards to expenses, this is typically costs associated with food, clothing shelter, health insurance, back payments and interest on back payments. It is possible to have other expenses ordered, which can include childcare, unpaid medical bills, travel costs for visitation and costs associated with extracurricular activities.
Legal duty to pay child support
When child support is ordered, this legal duty will continue until a certain event occurs. This could be when the child turns 18 years of age and has graduated from high school; however, if a child has not graduated high school by the age of 18 or attends part-time because of a medical condition, the child will continue to receive child support. It could also end when the child turns 19. Finally, if the child marries, dies or is legally free, such as joining the military, child support will end.
It should be noted that child support would remain in matters that involve a disabled child. Support will continue into adulthood if it is determined that the child is unable to support him or herself because of their disability.
Child support can be a very necessary component of a divorce order; however, it is not iron clad. It is possible to revisit this order, altering the terms to meet the current situation. That means that if income has increased or decreased or the needs of the child have changed, the amount paid monthly can alter. Additionally, parents may need to revisit a support order when it is necessary to enforce it.