San Francisco Bay Area Child Support Attorney
Child support is one complex part of a divorce involving children. The general rule is that all children, including those whose parents were never married to each other, have a legal right to be supported by both parents. The amount of support is based on the incomes of the parents and the needs of the children. Support will be paid to the one with actual custody of the children, usually a parent, or to a public agency where welfare assistance is being paid.
How is child support calculated?
Child support in California is set by a formula established by the Legislature. The basic factors in setting child support are the parties’ gross incomes and the amount of time each parent spends taking care of the children. Other factors will have a varying impact on the level of support. Union dues, mandatory retirement payments, child support paid for other children, etc. will move the guideline support level slightly. If a parent has other natural or adopted children (step-children do not count) in the home, the formula provides for a “hardship” deduction. This discretionary adjustment to the obligated parent’s (obligor’s) income is equal to the amount of support set.
Other standard terms of a child support order are: The court will issue an order to have the paying parent’s wages garnished to pay the support; each parent will provide health insurance for the children if available through employment at reasonable cost; and the parties will divide equally any unreimbursed health care costs.
What do I have to do to collect child support?
To get a court order requiring another person to pay child support, you must prove that the other person is a parent of the child and present financial information that will enable the court to make a support order. An experienced divorce attorney like Norbert U. Frost can be a major asset in this process.
What information should I take to my attorney?
Required information may include the full legal name, date of birth, Social Security Number, physical description, address, and employer of the non-custodial parent; full names and dates of birth of all children; marriage license, if there is one; divorce or separation agreement or judgment, if there is one; information about income and assets of the non-custodial parent; evidence of your own financial condition, such as pay check stubs, your monthly living expenses; and evidence of any special educational or medical needs of the children.
What can I do if the other parent will not pay?
Courts can issue an order that requires the other parent’s employer to withhold child support from the other parent’s pay, and pay it to you.
What if I think the amount of child support should be changed?
If your financial circumstances, the financial condition of the other parent, or the needs of the children have changed, the amount of child support may be modified. You can file a Request for Order requesting that the court modify the support order or you can ask the local Department of Child Support Services to conduct a review of the support amount.
How long will it take to get child support?
It depends on how complicated the case is. If the parties are able to agree, the matter may be resolved in a very short period of time. If parentage is disputed or there is a dispute about custody and visitation, resolution of the case can take a substantial period of time.
What if the other parent has a new family?
The existence of another family may affect the amount of money available for child support. However, it does not eliminate the obligation to provide support for other children.
If the other parent files bankruptcy will I lose my rights to the back support owed?
No, child support is not discharged in bankruptcy. The enforcement agency needs to know that he/she filed bankruptcy so they can file a claim.
I’ve just been served papers naming me as the father of a child. What do I do?
First, and most importantly, seek legal advice promptly. You have less than 30 days to file an answer or otherwise respond to the suit, and if no answer is filed, a judgment can be entered against you. After a judgment is entered naming you as the father of a child, your ability to set aside that judgment is very limited.
I have a child support order against me. What if I don’t pay?
Some of the tools available to collect child support are:
Wage withholding orders: Wage orders are directed at the employer and require that they deduct the support out of an obligor’s check every pay period.
Passive Intercepts: Tax refunds, lottery winnings, Social Security payments, disability payments, unemployment benefits, bank accounts, financial institution records, etc. could be intercepted and applied toward your child support obligation.
License Suspension: Your driver’s license, professional licenses, business licenses, and recreational licenses for hunting and fishing could be suspended.
Civil Enforcement: Your financial records could be examined, you could be cited for contempt of court, writs of execution could be issued against property or money you hold or control, and record liens against real property. Contempt citations can result in jail time and/or fines for non-compliance with the court order.
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