During a California family law matter, children are a major part of the case. Parents engage in disputes over many issues related to their children. That includes child custody, parenting time, and child support.
Regarding support, there is a specific guideline that the court uses when it determines how much the supporting parent will pay. This calculation hinges on the parent’s income, education level, the child’s needs, how many children there are, and more.
While the guideline is used as the foundation for the amount, there are other considerations that will be assessed in the case. This should be known from the beginning as it might impact the result for both sides.
How might deviations be considered in deciding on a child support amount?
A custodial parent might need to get a job or a higher-paying job after the divorce. This could require them to get education and skills to do so. If they have custody of a child, they may ask for more child support to cover the childcare costs while they are working, in school, or being trained.
Health care is a primary need for children. In some instances, they are not insured or do not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay for the care they need. If, for example, they have basic dental coverage, but the child needs treatment that is not part of the plan, the supporting parent could be asked to cover for the payments for reasonable care. Other costs that might arise are for the child’s education or special needs. That, too, can be part of the child support order and go beyond the guidelines.
Finally, the parenting time plan will need to be followed. If the parents live a great distance apart, the travel costs could be problematic. To ensure the non-custodial parent sees the child as the order stipulates, there may be additional child support to pay for it. The custodial parent could be asked to reimburse the supporting parent for some of these costs.
Child support orders can differ from the exact guidelines, and parents should have help
Since every situation is different, the court will weigh how the child support order should reflect the participants’ needs. The vital part of the order is to serve the child’s best interests. Still, the parents could disagree about the need for some expenses or have obstacles in making the payments. In these cases, it can be helpful to have experienced counsel with trying to get what is needed and reach a fair outcome.