Child Support Attorneys in San Diego
Child support is a major issue during many divorces. Child support is paid by one spouse to the other. Typically, the spouse receiving the child support is the one who has the majority of child custody. The calculation of child support is based on several factors, including each spouse’s income, whether each spouse is employed, and also the amount of time each parent spends with the children.
At Garmo and Garmo, LLP, we can help you calculate the proper amount of child support, depending on the circumstances of your case. Our attorneys have several decades of experience and in-depth knowledge of family legal matters such as child and spousal support. We work closely with our clients, taking the time to listen and understand their specific needs and putting our extensive experience to work to forcefully advocate for their rights and interests.
We utilize cutting edge tools to provide our clients with ongoing updates on the progress of their case, so they are always kept informed. And if you ever have questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact our office for assistance. Our commitment to providing skilled and personalized representation is a major reason so much of our clientele comes from return clients and client referrals.
Determining Child Support in California
The state of California uses a complex formula to determine child support, based on several factors. The purpose of the state guideline is to provide some uniformity in the way support is calculated, and to ensure that a child receives an adequate level of support to meet his/her needs. The guideline is based on the principle that a parent’s primary obligation is to support their child, and that both parents are mutually responsible for this support.
Some of the primary factors used to calculate a child support award in California include:
- The gross incomes of each parent;
- The amount of time each parent spends with the child;
- Mandatory payroll deductions from each parent, such as union dues, health insurance, and retirement accounts;
- Income tax deductions available to each parent (e.g., mortgage interest, property taxes, etc.);
- Cost of daycare and other child care costs.
Although the amount determined by the state formula is “presumed to be the correct amount of child support ordered”, courts are allowed to deviate from the formula if there are certain factors present. These include:
- The parent who is ordered to pay child support has an extraordinarily high income such that the amount determined by the formula exceeds the needs of the child(ren);
- The contribution of the parent is not in proportion with the amount of time they spend with the child(ren);
- The parents spend close to an equal amount of time with the child(ren), but one has significantly higher housing costs than the other;
- The child has significantly higher ongoing health care and other costs (as is typically the case with special needs children) which requires a higher level of support than is calculated by the formula.
Deviating from standard child support guidelines is unusual and is only supposed to be done under limited circumstances. In cases wherein this may be necessary, it is essential to have skilled legal counsel in your corner advocating for your rights and interests.
Duration of Child Support
In California, child support is mandatory until at least the child’s 18th birthday. However, if the child does not graduate from high school at age 18, payments must continue until the child turns 19. Child support may also be extended by an agreement between the parents. This may occur if the parents decide to continue support until the child is finished with college, vocational school, or some other form of post-secondary education.
Child Support Modifications
If there is a significant change in circumstances, the paying or receiving parent may petition for an increase or decrease in child support payments. Some reasons a modification of the original child support award may be warranted include:
- An increase or decrease in income of the paying parent;
- Loss of a job by the paying parent;
- Additional support obligations for the paying parent;
- The paying parent becoming incarcerated.
Even if the parents agree on the change in support between themselves, they must still have the child support modification approved by the court for it to be valid. This is very important, because if you and your ex-spouse make an informal agreement and your ex later denies it, you may end up owing significant amounts of back child support.
Child Support Enforcements
California takes the non-payment of child support very seriously. Failure to pay can result in severe consequences, both civilly and criminally. Some of the penalties for not paying child support may include:
- Being held in contempt of court which carries with it fines, jail time, or both;
- Mandatory wage garnishments;
- Mandatory health coverage costs being deducted from your paycheck;
- A lien on other property, such as bank accounts and real estate;
- Having your tax refunds seized to pay for back child support;
- Loss of your driving privileges;
- Revocation of your passport.
San Diego Spousal Support Lawyers
Spousal support, also commonly referred to as “alimony”, is an amount paid by one spouse to another after a divorce. Alimony is not paid in all cases, and the court has wide discretion in determining whether or not to award support to an ex-spouse, the amount that should be awarded, and the duration of the payment.
There are several factors that the court considers in determining spousal support, including:
- The length of the marriage;
- The earning abilities of each spouse;
- The standard of living during the marriage;
- The age and health of each spouse;
- The property, assets, and obligations of each spouse;
- The ability of the recipient spouse to obtain gainful employment.
Speak with an Experienced San Diego Family Law Attorney
During a divorce, child and spousal support are two of the most contentious issues that must be resolved. There are a number of factors that are considered by the courts with these issues, and the amount of support awarded is often dependent on the strength of the arguments that are presented by each side.
The attorneys at Garmo and Garmo, LLP have represented numerous clients for all types of family law matters, and we work hard to secure favorable outcomes on behalf of each client we serve. For more information regarding child support and spousal support issues, please call us at 619-441-2500 for a free consultation or send us a message for a free case evaluation.