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Understanding the basics of child support in California

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2014 | Child Support

Discussions about child support can quickly turn into an ugly and contentious battle between parents who may not exactly get along with each other. Many people view child support as a form of punishment; a way to penalize them for not being a custodial parent. However, the fact is that child support is necessary to ensure that a child is taken care of.

When people are not clear on the purpose and guidelines of child support, they may not take orders for support seriously. But all California parents should know that these payments are essential to protecting a child’s welfare and they are carefully calculated so as not to make it impossible for parents to keep up with them. In this post, we will look at some of the basics of child support so that hopefully, parents will understand more about this important obligation.

To begin with, parents should know why child support is necessary. Courts order child support because children benefit from financial support from both parents. The support is intended to contribute to the costs of caring for a child, from educational needs to medical costs to basic living expenses. These costs can be significant and often require the financial contribution of two parents, whether they are together or not.

It is also crucial that parents understand that child support is not assigned arbitrarily, and it is not intended to penalize parents. California Courts have strict guidelines on how child support is calculated. They take several factors into consideration, including:

  • Income of both parents
  • Parenting time of both parents
  • Age of the child
  • Needs of the child

Once this amount is calculated and child support is ordered, the paying parent will be responsible for making payments on time and in full. Failure to do this could result in added interest charges, legal action and wage garnishment.

Many parents view child support obligations in a negative light. However, hopefully by realizing that the support is a necessary contribution for a child’s well-being and is calculated in a specific way, parents will be a little less uneasy about the process. 

Any parent with questions about paying or collecting child support should remember that they have the right to discuss their concerns with an attorney. The legal system can be complicated, but a legal representative can help parents understand their rights and options.