Ensuring Financial Support For Your Child
California family law provides that parents must contribute to the support of their children according to a detailed formula. The purpose of this law is to ensure that every child is financially cared for by their parents. Divorce can put a strain on some families’ finances as they divide their incomes into two households rather than one. Your divorce attorney should protect the financial future of both you and your child.
The divorce attorneys at Minyard Morris have over 200 years of collective legal experience. Rest assured that your attorney will take the time to listen to your concerns regarding child support and answer all of your questions. Your attorney is part of a creative team of family law and divorce lawyers that meets three times weekly to discuss and analyze the firm’s current cases. You receive the personal service of one divorce lawyer with the added benefit of team review and consideration. That is part of the Minyard Morris difference.
More Than Just A Computer Algorithm
Child support is a complex area of family law and is significantly more involved than simply inputting the incomes of the parties into a computer program and pressing enter. Child support is ordered on a temporary basis and is ordered at the Request For Order (RFO) stage. Post-judgment support is ordered at the trial. Here is an explanation of the process:
- Software programs dictated by the California Legislature generate guideline child support. The computer program generates the guideline child support based on income of the parties, time share, certain deductions and many other factors. Income includes royalties, rents, government benefits, annuities and vested stock options, among other sources.
- Items such as inheritances, personal injury awards, student loans, life insurance proceeds and capital gains are generally not considered income.
- A family court may order a party to pay for additional expenses referred to as “add-ons” that may be paid in full by one party or divided between the parties in equal or unequal shares. A California family court may order a base level of child support and a supplemental payment of any additional income received over the base salary. This supplemental payment is referred to as an Ostler-Smith payment.
- Add-ons may include such things as childcare, activity costs, school costs, travel costs, health insurance premiums and medical costs not paid by insurance. The courts may also order the parties to pay disproportionate shares of health costs.
- A family court cannot order that a parent pay a portion of the guideline child support into an educational trust for the child’s future college tuition.
Determining the correct amounts for some of the factors that determine guideline child support may be complex. For example, the court may need to calculate a representative period of past earnings to determine the most probable future income for a party, decide how to treat fluctuating income, a job loss, phantom income, business losses, business sales proceeds or payment of principal on a business loan.
No matter what the court ultimately awards, the amount is not a permanently fixed amount. It is always modifiable. You may always seek a modification to child support if there has been a material change in circumstances since the date of the last order.
Connect With Our Family Law Firm
If you are looking for a family law firm that values excellence and integrity, call us at 949-652-2770 or reach out to us online to speak with a member of our team about your situation. The 16 divorce attorneys at Minyard Morris practice family law exclusively in Orange County.