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Palm Springs Child Support and Alimony Attorney

When a couple faces a divorce, it comes with many challenges. The process often starts amicably, trying to resolve many of the issues that need to be settled, but it can quickly turn into intense arguments. No matter how heated the discussions become, there is one area of a divorce that needs to be handled with care, and the couple needs to put their differences aside. Discussions about the children should always put their best interests first.

No matter the outcome of the divorce, child custody and child support can cause ongoing disagreements between parents. However, it must be recognized that there is a child at the center of the arguments. Therefore, they must be settled confidently and agreeably, whether by choice or by family court order. The outcome of these decisions will have lasting impacts on the family dynamics.

This is not to say that your needs do not matter. While the agreement should take the child’s best interests into account, it should also make sure that yours are as well. When it comes to child custody, the agreements made should make sure that you remain financially stable regardless of which side of the agreement you are on.

Child Support Laws

In California, the goal is for any child involved in a divorce to be supported by both parents and to spend time with both. The amount of child support each parent is responsible for is determined by the amount of time the child spends with each parent and what resources are needed to support the child. This means that the income of the parents is considered to establish how much of those resources can be provided for and what financial help is needed after that.

The amount of child support a parent receives is designed by the law to help with disparities in income between both parents and further takes into account the cost of living. Any child support obligation a parent has continues until the child is 18, or 19 if they are still in high school on their 18th birthday.

The Importance of Child Support

Child support can be ordered in any of three situations: separation, divorce, or two parents who were never together but share an obligation to support the child’s growth. The courts recognize that raising a child can be costly and requires the joint efforts of both parents, both physically and financially. Often, considerations for child support include some of the following expenses:
  • School supplies
  • Clothing
  • Nutritional needs
  • Costs associated with schooling beyond supplies (tuition, trips, clubs, etc.)
  • Expenses for healthcare
  • Childcare (babysitting, daycare)
In addition to these types of expenses, everyday expenses such as rent and utilities play a role in the growth and support of the child and are also factored into these calculations.

Determining Child Support

California calculates child support using a mathematical formula:
  • CS = K[HN – (H%)(TN)]
Child support is calculated by determining the number of children involved, the amount of time each parent spends with the children, and the income of each parent.
These factors are then imputed into a computer program, which then calculates a specific number that courts are required to use in their determinations. While this seems very matter of fact, the number is still negotiable by the parents if they both agree to a higher or lower payment. Additionally, this number can be modified if it can be proven that the calculation was incorrect or other mitigating factors are prevalent.

Modifying Child Support Agreements

After a divorce or separation, life will continue to move forward. As it does, the circumstances for each parent may change and require modifications to be made to the agreements or court orders that were previously given. Changes could include:
  • One parent loses a job.
  • One parent receives a raise.
  • Custody changes are agreed to, changing the time the child is at each home.
  • There are sudden changes in the cost of the child, such as medical or school expenses.

In each of these situations, one parent may feel the need to request that child support payment amounts be raised or lowered, depending on the circumstances. While both parents may agree to the changes, you should never change or modify a child support agreement without first going through the court system. Unfortunately, no matter how stable things may be between exes, things can change. Having the law on your side is important to protecting yourself and your child support agreement.

Furthermore, if the changes are not made through a court, there could be legal ramifications for one or both parents for violating the law.

What If One Parent Stops Paying Child Support?

It is never a good idea to stop paying child support. If one parent decides to do this, there are numerous consequences. Because it is considered criminal, penalties could include:
  • There could be an increase in the amount owed, and any back pay could be compounded with interest at the rate of 10%.
  • There could be a revocation or suspension of their drivers’ license.
  • It could hinder the ability to renew a passport if the amount owed is above $2,500.
  • There could be misdemeanor charges filed, resulting in up to 1 year in jail and a fine of $2,000 in addition to the owed support.

Palm Springs Family Law Attorney

Every parent loves their child and wants to see the best outcome for themselves and for their children. Because of this, it is important that reaching an agreement in your Palm Springs child support case be resolved with everyone’s best interests in mind. Whether through mediation or formal litigation in family court, your child deserves the best support from both parents, which means both parents honoring their obligations.

If you are in a separation or divorce with children, already have a child support agreement and need to modify it, or the other parent is not paying child support but is court-ordered to, you deserve to have the best help in your corner. At the Law Offices of Athina K. Powers, our family law attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help. Contact our offices today, and we can make sure you and your children receive the best outcome.