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Understanding Child Support in California

When ordering child support in California, judges must consider the best interests of the children. They must also follow certain guidelines, carefully considering the income of both parents and their custodial time.

Child Support Provides Stability for the Children

Typically, Judges order child support to cover the following expenses:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Medical care
  • Education
  • Other related costs

Serving clients throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area, the experienced child support lawyers at the Law Offices of David M. Lederman can help you figure out the right amount of support – whether you will be the payor or the recipient.

Child support orders help to ensure that one parent isn’t having to pay for the entire expense of raising one or more children. These payments provide financial assistance for the parent who has the children the majority of the time and is meant to help with necessary bills, such as ones for shelter, food, and utilities.

During a divorce, a two-income home is split into two single-income homes. Even if one parent did not work outside the home, they were essential in providing childcare. Chances are good that the parent who has custody of the children will have to pay for childcare while they work. This is an added expense at a time when their income has decreased.

Children Reap the Benefits of Child Support in California

Child support’s main benefit in California is that it provides children with the stability that they need to flourish. It gives them the support of both parents, even if they don’t fully realize it. Since the duty to take care of the child-related expenses doesn’t fall on only one parent, that adult might feel less stress. This can lead to them parenting better since they might be calmer due to lack of monetary pressure.

In some cases, child support also gives the children a chance to participate in extracurricular activities that wouldn’t be possible if the single parent was left footing the bill for everything. The children might find new friends and become more well-rounded with the inclusion of those opportunities.

The money that is paid for child support can be commingled with other household money. The parent who receives it can use it to pay anything. The important thing is that children need to have life’s necessities.

When the child support order is issued, both parents must know what it says. This ensures they can both do their part because failing to comply can harm the children and may lead to legal issues in California.

For children, thriving in a post-divorce family can be challenging. To help minimize the emotional and psychological effects of a divorce, judges tend to want to preserve the status quo. Accordingly, if your children already attend private school, a judge may decide to keep them there in their best interests.

In California, child support is set based on a computer-driven guideline calculation. The calculation, which the court is required to use, factors most heavily the parties’ respective child custody timeshare and their respective income.

If you want your ex-spouse to pay some or all of the tuition at a private institution, you should be ready to explain why your child needs private schooling to a judge. To do so, you may need to provide evidence of the following:

  • Your children’s unique educational requirements
  • Your children’s educational history
  • Your children’s religious and cultural background

While there is nothing inherently wrong with sending your children to public school, you may want them to take advantage of the many benefits of private school. However, private education is not often cheap. The average cost of a private school in California is more than $14,000 per year.

If you and your ex-spouse both believe private schooling is best for your kids, you can probably reach an agreement to pay the tuition. On the other hand, if your former partner prefers to send your kids to public school, you will have to prove that attending private school is in their best interest and that you and your partner can afford to pay for tuition post-divorce.

At The Law Offices of David M. Lederman, our knowledgeable child support attorneys can help you craft persuasive arguments supporting your point of view, whether you are for or against your children attending private school.

A divorce is often a messy, complicated, emotional journey, especially when it involves minor children. Sometimes, couples may try to forge a shortcut on that journey by agreeing to waive child support.

When the parties to a divorce reach an agreement, courts often approve. This is not the case when the agreement involves child support.


Reasons for Waiving Child Support

There are many reasons that couples attempt to agree upon waiving child support. For divorcing couples, the most common scenario is that the custodial parent agrees to waive support because the other parent agrees to a less favorable visitation schedule or property division.

For unmarried couples, the custodial parent may agree to waive child support because the other parent agrees to waive visitation or custody. Child support negotiations are often contentious, and many couples just want to avoid another argument.


Problems with Waiving Child Support

Parents who agree to waive child support seldom do so with the intent to harm their child. However, the purpose of child support is to benefit a minor child, and that minor child is never a party to the agreement to waive support. Under California law, parents must act in their child’s best interest. Furthermore, both parents must support and provide for their children.

If the parents agree, they could agree to an above or below-guideline child support order. However, if they do, that agreement can likely be changed to conform to the support guideline in the future.

If you expect to pay or receive child support in California, you need a skilled child support lawyer to protect your finances and your children’s future. At The Law Offices of David M. Lederman, we understand how precious your children are to you. We will work hard to obtain the right child support award: one that will allow the children to maintain their pre-divorce standard of living.

We also understand that money may be tight after a divorce, so we will also ensure that the payor is able to maintain the child support payments without undue hardship.

Since 1997, The Law Offices of David M. Lederman has worked with families in the greater San Francisco Bay Area – including Antioch, Moraga, and across Contra Costa, Alameda, and Solano Counties – to solve a broad array of family law problems affecting children. Call 925-522-8889 or click here to request a meeting with a lawyer to discuss child support, child custody, and any other issues involving your children.

Family Law Specialists Dedicated to Helping You Navigate the Challenges of Divorce