Child support is the amount of money that a court orders a parent or both parents to pay every month to assist with the child’s living expenses, which includes the child’s food, clothing, medical care, and educational expenses.
Who Has to Pay Child Support?
Under California law, both parents are responsible for paying child support. The child support amount is usually determined by the income of each parent and who would have the financial ability to pay the child support to the other parent. Usually, the parent that has custody of the child and pays for the child’s living expenses every day would be the parent that receives that child support from the other parent.
How Long Do I Have to Pay Child Support?
According to California state law, the legal duty to pay child support after the court has ordered it continues until the child turns the age of 18 AND has graduated from high school, or turns 19 (whichever comes first).
What about the Child's Education?
If necessary, the court can set aside a portion of the parents' joint or separate assets in a separate trust or fund for the support and education of the child. Educational costs are under the judge’s discretion, and the courts will determine whether the parent must pay additional payments for the child’s education if the custodial parent decides to send the child to a private school institution that costs money rather than a public school.
In California, a parent’s legal duty to pay child support ends when the child turns 18 years of age and completes high school or turns 19 years of age and the California courts do not require the parent to pay for the child’s college expenses
Can the Child Support Order Be Modified?
Yes, the court can modify the order if there has been a change in financial circumstances. This type of change may include:
- A big increase or decrease in either of the parent's income
- The child is spending a lot more time with either parent
- The child is several years older than when the original child support order was given
- Circumstances have changed and the child now has special financial needs, such as medical expenses or schooling
Do I Need a California Lawyer?
If you are seeking to establish child support in California, it may be wise to speak with a child support lawyer. Consulting with a family lawyer can help you understand your options and help you deal with the complicated legal system.