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Guide to California’s Child Support Laws

What is the purpose of child support laws?

The California Family Code 4053 lays out this answer pretty well. This code teaches that the parent’s first and most important obligation is to support their child. This obligation is mutual and based on ability, a mother and father’s income and time with the child should be consistent with the child’s best interest. A child should share in the standard living of both their mother and father. Child support might improve a custodial parent’s standard of living because it would improve a child’s standard of living, meaning that it also reduces the disparity of a mother and father’s standard of living.

California is an costly state to live in and child support orders reflect that. The law in California presumes that the parent who has the primary parenting time already contributes a significant part of his or her resources for the child. This presumption can also be rebutted. Child support guidelines and laws are created to lessen litigation and reduce conflict. This means the child’s best interest is California’s number one priority.

What is the relationship between child support laws and parenting time in the state of California?

California child support laws have a direct correlation between parenting time. Parenting time is also called visitation. This correlation is a double-edged sword.

In the one hand, a parent who has more time with the child will have more of a need for child support. On the other hand, the moment you connect parenting time and child support is when you give parents with poor motives to use custody and parenting time as leverage in child support.

Do child support laws in California allow parents to agree to more or less than the state guideline requires?

While child support arrears can’t be waived, parents can agree to more or less than what California guideline requires for child support. If the amount is less, the court will take a more critical eye toward the agreement before they can approve it. If the amount is more, it is normally approved without a second look.

How are payments for child support made in California?

A child support payment is typically made directly by the payor to the payee. Many child support orders read that the payor will pay the payee a certain amount in child support commencing on a specific date and paid half on the first and half on the fifteenth of each month.

At what age do child support payments in California stop?

Child support finishes when a child turns eighteen years old as long as the child is no longer a full-time high school student and lives with a parent. In this situation, child support stops when the child turns nineteen years old or graduates from high school, whichever comes first. California child support also finishes if a child joins the military, marries, is emancipated or dies.

Parents can also agree to continue support for an adult child beyond that although that is unique.

Would you like to know more about California Child Support Laws? Contact our expert attorneys here!