Child support is a very serious matter, which are why there are numerous laws and rules governing it. You need to understand exactly what the state of California demands for child support from not only the parent who has to pay, but also the parent who is expecting the funds. That way, you can avoid missing something important and getting into trouble for not adhering to the rules and requirements surrounding child support in California.
Who Needs to Pay Child Support?
Generally, the custodial parent is entitled to child support from the noncustodial parent. There is a child support calculation in the state of California that can help a custodial parent figure out how much money they will likely receive based on the other parent’s income. However, this is not a definitive way to measure child support, as judges can take other things into consideration when determining how much a parent owes, if anything, in the form of child support. One of these things is if both parents spend equal time with a child and it would be unfair to make one pay child support when the financial burden of raising the child appears to be shared equally.
How Can I Petition for Child Support?
It is advised that a custodial parent file a petition in court for child support. Otherwise, if you have a private agreement with the other parent, you cannot rely on the court to enforce the agreement in the same manner that it can enforce a traditional child support court order. To start the process, you can contact a local child support agency in your city. You can find your local office on the California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) website. The DCSS can help you find a parent, establish paternity, and begin a case.
What If I Fail to Pay Child Support?
There are serious consequences for not paying child support. First, the court will order a wage garnishment. You can also be found in contempt of court, which can lead to jail time. Other things that can be done to cover the unpaid child support and punish you for nonpayment include credit reporting, property liens, and taking your tax refund. You can also lose your license or be prevented from getting a passport.
Can I Lose My Visitation If I Do Not Pay?
Even if you are not paying child support, you still have the right to see your child. So, if you have a visitation order, you can have it enforced by the court. At the same time, you cannot refuse to pay child support just because you are not able to see your child.
How Can I Stop Paying Child Support?
If you want to stop paying child support, you have to do so legally. You cannot decide on your own to just stop because, as previously discussed, that can have dire legal and financial consequences.
Parents can also agree to lower the amount or completely get rid of child support payments between themselves, but it has to be approved by a judge. This is the easiest way to put and end to child support obligations, but not the most common. If you are not sure that you are the biological parent of a child, you can request a DNA test at court. In the past, you might have stated you were the parent and established paternity, but you can take that back but will have to do that through the court.
Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?
You should find a California family law lawyer to help you figure out if you owe or are owed child support. A child custody lawyer can also help you if you are contesting any child support obligations or if you are having difficulty with obtaining owed payments from the other parent.