California Child Support Lawyer
Child Support Attorneys
Are You Seeking a Child Support Petition?
Regardless of how the relationship between a mother and father has deteriorated, all parents have a financial obligation to support their children. If you are in the process of filing for divorce, you should know that the court’s decision will influence not only the quality of your own life, but that of your children.
At Kaspar & Lugay, LLP, our attorneys have the experience you need to get a fair result out of negotiations and at trial. We are well equipped to advise you about a wide range of support-related matters, including:
- Enforcing child support orders against a parent who is not meeting their obligations
- Modification of child support orders to reflect changed circumstances in your life or the life of your children
Ensure your children are getting the support they need and deserve. Schedule an initial consultation online or call us at 415-843-6195.
How Child Support Is Calculated in California
Child support calculations are made pursuant to California Family Code §4055. Family courts follow standard state guidelines for child support. The court has the discretion, however, to stray from or to waive the guidelines if a child’s special needs or a parent’s special circumstances suggest a more equitable arrangement. If the child’s parents are not married, the court will issue an order regarding support payments that are intended to provide the custodial parent with the necessary resources to provide for the child.
In most situations, the calculation of child support is based on factors such as:
- The incomes of both parents
- The amount of time the child spends at each residence
Calculating College Expenses & Child Support in California
The ability to pay for children’s college education is an important consideration for many divorcing parents. Tuition and other costs have spiraled upward over the past few decades and the prospect of handling these bills can be even more imposing once divorce creates two separate households. Some divorcing parents hold misconceptions and make mistaken assumptions that college expenses must be shared. In California, there is no law specifically addressing either custodial or noncustodial parents’ responsibilities in this area. The costs of college or university education are simply not addressed in child support laws or calculations.
How Do Day Care Costs Get Factored Into Child Support?
In most divorces involving young children, daycare costs are included as an “add-on” within the child support order—as are the costs of health insurance and medical care. A basic guideline is that the costs of child care required for the primary custodial parent to work full-time are to be shared equally, but many factors can enter into the issuance of this order. Ensuring that you receive everything you are entitled to—or that the child support you are ordered to pay is not excessive—could very well depend on the knowledge of your divorce lawyer.
Disputes may arise over issues such as the following:
- Payment of a nanny or other care provider who may perform other services in addition to day care, such as housekeeping or after-hours services
- The desire of a parent who currently stays at home with a young child to continue doing so, necessitating additional child or spousal support due to a lack of employment income
Handling Child Support Cases Involving High-Wage Earners
In 1992, the California legislature adopted a formula to calculate child support that is based on the incomes of both parents and amount of time the child spends with each parent. However, when the father’s pay is measured by millions, the court uses other factors to assure the necessary support payments are made.
At Kaspar & Lugay, LLP, our clients know that they can count on our California family law attorneys for confidentiality and for a fair resolution.
We represent parents in high-earner California child support cases, including:
- Professional athletes
- Business figures
Determining Child Support for Self-Employed Parents
Our attorneys have backgrounds in finance and know how to conduct financial analysis and take other steps necessary to earn just child support orders for our clients. This includes handling many cases involving tech entrepreneurs, high-earning consultants, and others with income that can be challenging to pinpoint and project for the future.
Any divorce, paternity claim, or other family law matter involving a self-employed parent calls for counsel from a resourceful and financially savvy attorney. Although full financial disclosure is required by law, disputes over actual income, necessary expenses, and other issues are common in such cases. Let us help ensure that your rights remain protected at all times.
Our attorneys work with forensic accountants and other experts in order to:
- Present a full and accurate accounting of an individual’s income for purposes of establishing child support
- Identify hidden income and assets that will impact support obligations
- Determine other important facts that we will leverage in negotiation and at trial
Unmarried? Our Child Support Lawyers Are Here for You.
When a child is born outside of marriage, that child needs the support of both parents.
- If you are the mother of a child, we can guide you through the process of establishing paternity, which is the first step to determining child support.
- If you are the father of a child, you have the right to be a part of your child’s life as well as the obligation to provide financial support for that child’s upbringing. Ask your lawyer about paternity testing. We will negotiate child support that fits your circumstances and prevent the other side from dictating terms.
How Long Does Child Support Last?
Often, California law requires a parent to pay support until his or her child turns 18. If the child is unmarried and still enrolled full-time in high school, the support order may continue until age 19. There are other special circumstances, including a child with special needs, where support may continue for a longer period or even indefinitely.
I Received a ‘Summons And Complaint.’ Now What?
If you receive a Summons and Complaint in the mail, you have 30 days to complete the paperwork and file an Answer with the court. If you fail to timely file the Answer form, you will have judgement entered against you, and you are essentially agreeing to pay the child support amount that was listed in the Summons and Complaint. If you do file the Answer form, you will have a chance to appear in court and argue your case. Our attorneys are standing by to help you succeed in ensuring your rights and obligations are set forth fairly in the court’s decision.
Child Support for Special Needs Children
Any divorce with children involved creates significant concern about their development, well-being, and financial support for both parents. If you have a child who is mentally or physically disabled, these concerns may be especially serious because of the costs associated with providing appropriate care, special education, adaptive equipment or other needs. We at Kaspar & Lugay, LLP can handle all the details related to your child support matter. Our goal is to help you reach a solution that has your child’s best interests in mind.
Determining appropriate child support for children with autism, learning disabilities, physical challenges, and chronic illnesses can be challenging. The amount available for a major monthly “add-on” to any child support obligation requires careful analysis, and disputes over your child’s best interests and necessary expenses may arise. Although both you and your divorcing spouse may want to do all you can to give your child the best achievable quality of life, available financial resources may be stretched with the establishment of separate households.
We understand the many complex considerations in arriving at custody arrangements and calculating child support for special needs children, including:
- The substantial burden on a custodial parent facing extraordinary child care expenses, often made more challenging by his or her inability to work full-time
- The need for open negotiation and willingness to collaborate in meeting your child’s needs relative to comfort, routines, transportation, and more
- Possible justification for a child support order that extends beyond the age of 18
Our attorneys will emphasize sensitivity to your child’s needs while carefully assessing the financial realities of your situation—informed by research and testimony from experts ideal for your situation if needed.
To speak with our California child support lawyers, please call us today at 415-843-6195 or contact us online.
Whether you’re reaching your breaking point or needing to modify a pre-existing judgment or agreement, your team at Kaspar & Lugay is ready to help you explore your options and develop a winning strategy.
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