Child Support FAQ

For many divorcing parents, divorced parents and single parents, child support is a critical topic. The reality of California child support is often misunderstood and misrepresented on the Internet. For this reason, it is essential to get proper advice from an attorney if you are facing a challenge related to child support.

More Questions Than Answers

At Hendrickson Cooper Hughes in Huntington Beach, we represent mothers and fathers who need to resolve important child support matters. In helping our clients find workable solutions to their problems, we are often asked questions like:

How is child support determined? It's determined via a computer program that utilizes many factors, including both parents' before-tax income and the amount of time each spends with your child. The less time you spend with your child, the more child support you will pay to the custodial parent.

What if I can't pay all my bills because the child support is too much? The court assigns the highest priority to child support, and thus will not usually adjust support unless you and your attorney can prove that it would be in the child's best interests to receive less money from you.

If I get remarried, can my new spouse's income be used for child support of my child with another person? Generally, the answer is no. In fact, in certain cases your child support may well go down. This is because marrying someone and filing your taxes jointly may result in putting you in a higher income bracket. If you're in a higher income bracket, you will pay more taxes, and thus your take-home pay will be less.

Child support was determined years ago when my child was very young and it's never been changed. Is it worth it to go to court and seek an increase? Whatever you do, first talk to an attorney. You may end up in a prolonged and terrible court battle. If the child support order was made years ago, the time spent by the support-paying parent with the child is probably far less than it would be if the court revisited that issue today. Custody battles often follow requests for increased child support.

If I pay what the court tells me to pay in child support, will I have to pay anything more?
In all likelihood, yes. If you have health insurance available for the child through your employer, you will probably be responsible for insuring your child, and you will also be responsible for paying one-half of all unreimbursed medical and dental costs for your child. You will also be responsible for paying one-half of the child's day care.

The other parent of my child has never paid support, and in fact has never had much to do with our child. It's been years since we've seen the other parent, in fact. Can I still collect child support? That depends on whether there was ever an order made for child support. It doesn't matter how old that order is; the district attorney will always try and collect child support for you even if your children are grown. On top of that, 10 percent interest is automatically charged, which means that every seven years, the amount of overdue child support DOUBLES. There's another big issue with long-overdue child support, too, and that's whether the other parent has "abandoned" your child. If you can prove the other parent has abandoned your child, you can ask the court to terminate his or her parental rights.

Many times, there are more questions than answers when it comes to pivotal child support issues. Most of the time, the answers will depend on your circumstances.

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Let us answer your questions. Don't rely on friendly advice and Facebook posts to make decisions that may affect you and your kids for years. Contact Hendrickson Cooper Hughes to set up an appointment.