Determining Child Support In A Divorce Or Paternity Case
Child Support is normally an issue in divorce and paternity cases filed by parties with children in the local Family Law Courts. Given the percentage of custody and the incomes of the parties, I can give you a very close estimate of what the court will award in support using the same Dissomaster program used by most Family Law Courts in California.
There are three types of support issues:
- The initial determination by the court of appropriate support
- Child Support Modification – Modification of existing support due to changes in the custodial time of the parents or due to changes in relative income of the parents. This is especially important in today’s economy where a parent may see a huge reduction of income from one month to the next. Failure to act quickly to reduce child support to the appropriate level can have a devastating effect on the player.
- Support Enforcement – an award of support is meaningless unless it can be collected. Various tools for doing this include: establishing arrears, (back child support), wage garnishment, levying accounts, liens, seizure of assets and debtor examinations.
Department of Child Support Services
Child support can also be an issue brought by the County Department of Child Support Services, attempting to collect support on behalf of a parent. The Department of Child Support Services will also bring an action for reimbursement of benefits paid out by the county to the custodial parent for the benefit of the minor child. In Los Angeles County these cases are handled by a dedicated court located on Commonwealth in downtown Los Angeles. The local office of the Department of Child Support Services is in Torrance. In Orange County Department of Child Support Services, cases are handled at the Lamoreaux Justice Center.
Establishing Support in Paternity Cases (Unmarried Parents)
First, parentage must be established. When in doubt, a motion for DNA testing can be filed and a court order obtained. After parentage is established, the relative incomes of the parties and the percentage of time each party is responsible for the minor child is used to determine support. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to act quickly in these cases. The interest on child support accrues at the legal interest rate of 10%. It goes without saying that a parent without child support when they really need it, is in huge trouble; and that a parent that has a child support bill in the tens of thousands of dollars after the child is over 18 also has an almost insurmountable problem.
FREE SUPPORT CALCULATOR
Click below for Department of Child Support Services Calculator.
Child Support Calculator