Understanding California Child Support


California child support is a court order for a monetary amount to be given by one parent to the other each month to help cover the child’s living expenses. Both parents are responsible for a portion of the amount necessary to raise a child. The amount determined is based on many factors including, but not limited to income.

Torrance child support is decided by the state of California.

The need for taking care of children through child support may occur in a few different situations:

The court aims to provide the child with the same level of lifestyle as each parent.

Failing to provide court-mandated child support could result in civil and/or criminal consequences. If you’re concerned about calculating the amount of child support you will owe, a good Torrance family-law attorney is helpful.

Child support will be enforced regardless of the marital status of the parents. In California, there are specific guidelines courts follow to determine the amount you will be required to pay. While many states take a percentage of a person’s income for child support, California considers other financial variables to determine what the final amount will be.

Torrance family-law attorneys will guide you in the complexities of California law. Under the law’s guidelines, factors that are considered are a parent’s income, the amount of time each parent spends with the children, and the number of children involved.

Since there are many variables, it makes sense to allow a local attorney to assist in getting the fairest court order that works for everyone.

Determining If California Has Jurisdiction Over Your Child

Jurisdiction creates the legal authority for a court to make orders, such as child support. Those orders can then be enforceable. There is personal jurisdiction which is the court’s power over a person. Subject matter jurisdiction is the court’s ability to enforce power over a subject. Child support orders are considered subject-matter jurisdiction.

When both parents live in California, it’s not hard to figure out the correct state for jurisdiction to file your child support matter.

It becomes more challenging and enters a realm of the unknown for someone who doesn’t know the law, when one parent moves out of state. Jurisdiction is affected by whether the parents were married, and other factors. It’s important to file legal paperwork in the proper state and the proper courthouse.

Once you’ve determined the right jurisdiction, you’ll want to know the guidelines California goes by when determining what you’ll owe.

Documentation To Gather For Torrance Child Support

  • Pay stubs from the past few months
  • Tax returns for 1 or 2 years
  • Insurance premium documents
  • Proof of mandatory retirement contributions
  • Child and spousal support documentation from other relationships
  • Child care costs information
  • Other special circumstance costs

If parents can come to an agreement outside of the courts, the courts will back the agreement. The agreement must state that:

  • The parents weren’t forced to enter the agreement
  • It’s in the children’s best interest
  • The parents know their rights
  • The parents aren’t on public assistance

Since situations, where the parents agree amicably, aren’t typical, it becomes necessary for parents to utilize the help of an attorney.

A reputable Torrance attorney can help explain the legal complexities involved and what your rights are. Understanding these on your own is risky at best. With the stress of a divorce, among other considerations, it’s best not to take on the additional part-time job of learning the law on your own.

You want the best outcome for your finances. Without an attorney, you can’t be sure that will happen.

An experienced local family law attorney will be familiar with the courts’ tendencies in your area and will most likely have come across people in situations very similar to yours. They know the right moves to make and what your best options are.

Many people will hear of specific situations experienced by friends, opinions on what California child support laws entail, and what you can expect in court. Relying on this type of hearsay is nerve-wracking at best and could ruin your chances at an optimal outcome.

Your situation is unique and the court order will reflect that once everything is applied in your case. Calculating child support can’t be done with a simple online calculator. Many factors are involved, including the cost of raising your children. As you know, this changes from month to month and from year to year.

New expenses can come up as your kids grow, such as:

  • Prom dresses and tuxes
  • Electronics and cell phones
  • Sports equipment and fees
  • School trips
  • Summer camps
  • Car insurance
  • Music lessons

That’s just the beginning. These additional expenses need to be negotiated on their own.

How Is My Income Calculated For Child Support?

The court will figure out each parent’s net disposable income. They get the final number by determining the gross annual income, subtracting certain expenses, and dividing by 12 to come up with a monthly amount.

In this situation, gross income includes:

Income from a job or a self-owned business and all other sources. This may include unemployment insurance benefits, social security benefits, or disability insurance benefits, to name a few sources. The court has leeway to decide what they will include.

Disposable income is calculated by subtracting costs such as taxes, union dues, health care premiums, financial hardships, and the cost of raising children from other relationships.

As it can be expensive to live in Torrance, an experienced attorney can help work out the fine details as optimally as possible.

Other Factors The Courts May Consider

Other factors the court will consider are school expenses, childcare costs, healthcare costs, and travel costs associated with visitation. Again, it’s not a cut-and-dry formula, since these determined costs may be split equally between parents or based on each parent’s disposable income.

How Does Timeshare Become Part Of The Picture?

The amount of time each parent spends with the kids and is responsible for them is called timeshare. This can be tricky to compute, but a California court has the discretion to calculate a percentage based on who pays for things, is picking up the kids, and is attending school functions.

There is a math formula that calculates child support. Courts can use a computer program to take care of this. You can do this on your own, however, there are so many discretionary factors involved that the computation becomes very complex. A court can easily come up with a very different number for your situation.

It’s best to consult a reputable Torrance family-law attorney to guide you along your way.

Modifying Child Support Due To Changing Circumstances

Court-ordered Torrance child support can be modified. When your income has changed or the amount of time you’re able to spend with the child changes, it’s acceptable to approach the court for a change.

If one parent becomes unemployed or underemployed, the court will determine if the individual has earning potential. Courts will determine if a parent is trying to avoid paying child support and is actually capable of earning a certain amount. To assign or ‘impute’ income the parent is not yet actually making, requires that the court find proof that there are jobs for which the parent is skilled.

What Happens When A Parent Doesn’t Pay Child Support?

Enforcing the payment of child support is of the highest priority for California. The consequences of not paying can seriously disrupt your life.

Driver’s licenses can be revoked or suspended. Wages may be garnished, and credit affected. You may not know your wages are being garnished until your employer lets you know. Unemployment or worker’s compensation and tax refunds can be confiscated. Criminal charges may be filed with fines and/or jail time.

Ideally, a court-ordered agreement that works for everyone can be negotiated.

Child support determinations are based on calculations aimed at providing the best outcomes for children.  It can be a complicated task and one that the experienced legal team at the Bruce A. Mandel attorney firm can make easier for you.

Family Law Attorney Bruce A. Mandel’s team will use our extensive legal knowledge to navigate the intricate calculation of your child support situation. We’ll help you determine a child support amount that fairly represents your lives as parents and the ever-changing needs of your children. Contact us today to see how we can help you with all of your child support needs.

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