A huge part of caring for a child is providing for them financially. And as anyone with children knows, this can weigh heavily on your bank account. That is why child support is so stressful in California, not only because of the expenses of raising a child but the complicated way in which child support decisions are made. Typically, child support is brought to Los Angeles courts during divorces, legal separations, or requests from parents who were never married. Your individual situation will require different action steps and advice, so the information we provide below should not be taken as legal advice. That is why we provide free consultations, so you can receive personalized advice tailored to your individual situation. Please call our firm in Los Angeles before requesting child support or responding to a child support order.
To file for child support in California, you must first have a case open in Los Angeles county courts. If you are going through a divorce, you can often request child support during child custody litigations or request it directly from the mother or father during divorce mediation. If you and the other parent do decide on child support specifications on your own, do not sign off on them before having a child support attorney review them. We can let you know what each of the decisions means and the repercussions they could have in the future based on experience, training, and knowledge of Los Angeles child support laws. We can also remind you of your rights to ensure that you are not taken advantage of.
If you never married the mother or father, you still must open a case in LA County courts. This can be a child custody or support case specifically (or restraining order if you were the victim of domestic violence or maltreatment). However, if you have not yet proven that you and the mother or father are the biological parents of your child, you will need to open a parentage (paternity) case. Once you are proven to be the natural parents, you must both provide financial support or face drastic consequences (such as charges of neglect). If you cannot agree on the way in which you will share the financial responsibilities, you must go through the courts and have the judge make a decision for you.
The child support forms that Los Angeles County will require of you can be complex. They mainly depend on what type of a case you have open (divorce or legal separation, child custody, restraining order, parentage, etc.) or if you need to open one to request child support. If you need to respond to a request for child support from the other parent, you have to fill out those separate forms within a certain timeframe or face penalties. The questions asked in each of these documents are the basis of the judge’s decision, and you should always have a child support attorney look them over before you submit them.
How a judge decides who will pay child support depends on several factors, all of which boil down to the single question: what will best provide for the child? Mainly he or she will examine the parent’s ability to pay for the child’s needs, which means looking at employment and income. They will also look at child custody arrangements, including who the child lives with and how much time he or she spends with each parent. If one parent has primary physical custody over the child, the non-custodial parent will almost always be made to pay child support. The other criteria the judge will examine to determine child support depends on your individual situation. Thus, our child support attorneys will examine your case, inform you of the factors in your life that will be most pertinent to the litigations, and protect your rights.
The way the judge decides on the amount of child support also depends on the parent’s salaries and visitation schedules. He or she will also look at the child’s needs and estimate the cost it would take to meet those. They will then examine the parent’s expenses (and which are necessary), additional sources of revenue, amount of time spent working, etc. By consulting with our firm, you will secure child support attorneys with solid financial experience who can expertly assess your situation and help influence the judge’s decision in regard to your financial situation.
If the other parent is already paying you for child support, but it is not enough for you to provide for your child, you can submit a request for modification of child support. Perhaps your child’s needs have changed, you lost your job or your salary decreased, you were remarried and have more children to pay for, or your bank account has taken a hit in a different way. Whatever the case, our attorneys can help you persuade the judge that there was some recent change of circumstances and your current child support is not enough to provide for your son or daughter. We will walk you through the steps of modifying child support, including helping you fill out and review the forms you’ll submit to request more support.
If you are supposed to be receiving child support from the mother or father, but they are not making their payments, we can help you enforce the order. We know that this can greatly harm your ability to provide for your child’s physical care, and the offense is taken seriously by Los Angeles county. If you never officially requested child support but were receiving it from your former partner on the basis of a personal agreement, then it is all the more important to call an attorney. You will have to go through LA County courts to formally request child support before you can take any legal action.
If you already have a child support order and they’re not holding up their end of the arrangement, you can take legal action against them. Do not take this into your own hands. If you try to keep them from seeing their son or daughter in order to force them to give you child support, you can also face penalties. Thus, hire a lawyer to help you enforce the order in a legal manner so you are safe from repercussions and get the correct amount of money you deserve. Some cases are even more difficult, however. For instance, maybe the mother or father is in jail/prison and cannot pay child support or you don’t know where they are. Or perhaps your child is over the age when they stop receiving child support, but they never received the amount they were supposed to earlier in their life.
If you are the one paying child support but feel that the order was unjust and your own finances are crumbling under the demands, feel free to contact us for a free consultation. While it may be difficult to sway the judge to lower child support payments, we can help you craft a compelling case to persuade them to modify the child support order. We are prepared to use every detail of your financial situation to show the judge exactly why you are paying too much for child support and help you lower it to the amount more suitable for your needs while still providing for your child. Don’t wait to call us, since missing the consequences of missing a child support payment can be severe.
If you have already missed a payment or have been late on several payments in the past, call us immediately. We can help alleviate the penalties and convince the judge that you did not do this out of laziness or spite, as some will assume. Rather, we can help them see that your circumstances impeded your ability to make those payments and that you are taking the right steps to remedy the situation. Not paying child support can result in hefty fines or even the suspension of your driver’s license or vehicle registration. If you let these build up too long, you can get an order of contempt and be called into court. If you’re already in any of those situations, let us know, and we will go with you to help mitigate the consequences.