Child Support

Riverside Child Support Lawyer

What Am I Obligated to Pay?

When the parents of a child decide to divorce or legally separate, they still have an obligation to ensure their child is provided for, including food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Family law judges take support matters very seriously, and want to ensure a child maintains the same standard of living that was enjoyed when the family was still together. In an uncontested divorce, parents can create their own agreement as part of their divorce settlement, rather than leaving it up to the court to decide. In a contested divorce, the court will determine which parent will pay support and how much financial assistance the child will receive.

The judge in the case will take several factors into consideration, such as:

  • Each parent's yearly and monthly income
  • The child custody arrangement
  • How many children require support
  • If the children have any unique or special needs
  • If one parent pays for or contributes medical benefits
  • How the children are claimed on the parents' taxes
  • Each parent's ability to care for the child

In many cases, support will be paid by the non-custodial to the custodial parent. When both parents share custody, the ex-spouse that earns less can still be awarded support. Going through a divorce can be difficult, especially if you are a parent with minor children. Obtaining legal advice and representation from a Riverside child support lawyer is one of the best things you can do to ensure a fair settlement.

The Family Support Act

In 1988, Congress enacted a bill to revise and add to the current law, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, which was called the Family Support Act. One thing that was emphasized was child support. It mandated that each state have a calculation formula that determined what parent would be obligated to pay what amount. The factors that are usually taken into consideration are listed above. Typically, non-custodial parents are the ones that have to pay child support. In addition to monthly payments of support, the court may also order a non-custodial parent to take care of things like medical bills, life insurance and school bills. In the event that child support becomes too much of a financial burden, a parent cannot simply cease payment.

This is grounds for legal action. Neither can child support payments be remediated by bankruptcy. If there has been a significant change in income, a change in the child's needs or other major life change then the court may reevaluate the amount of child support that a parent is obligated to pay. If the child support cannot be changed and one parent still cannot make payments, then they may be able to declare bankruptcy to remediate other debts in order to free them up to pay child support. The question often arises, "If my ex remarries, am I still obligated to pay child support?" Any additional income from a new marriage cannot count toward child support. There is an exception for instances in which a newly obtained spouse wishes to legally adopt their stepchildren.

Steps To Take with Our Family Lawyer in Riverside

Child support is one of the most hotly contested issues in a divorce, and can be a very sensitive subject. Even when parents are able to agree on a support arrangement, it is important to have an attorney on your side who can provide you with legal counsel, answer your questions, address your concerns, and protect your rights and interests. Circumstances often change, which is why it is important to have a Riverside divorce lawyer for every step of the way.

Choose a law firm with a Certified Family Law Specialist*. Contact Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich today!

* Attorney Danica Hanich is a Certified Family Law Specialist with the California Board of Legal Specialization.