When people think of the costs associated with child support, they typically think of living expenses such as housing, food, clothing, and other basic components. However, oftentimes, other costs that are necessary to contribute to the health and well-being of children are not considered. It is important to work with a California child support lawyer to make sure payments are fair for both parties and your children are taken care of.
The California legislature has attempted to address disparities in child support payments by creating new legislation. This legislation specifies certain costs of childcare to be calculated in child support payments. Working with an attorney can help you properly disclose your income for the most accurate and balanced child support payments for your family.
What Is California Family Code 4062?
Cal. Fam. Code § 4062 clarifies certain items that count as additional criteria for child support payments. It specifically mentions the following items:
- Childcare: Child support payments must include childcare costs like daycare. This is to ensure that the custodial parent can effectively attend work or training without struggling to care for children at the same time.
- Uninsured Healthcare Costs: Health issues not covered by insurance can be costly. These events need to be included in child support so that one parent isn’t stuck paying out of pocket for expensive treatment.
- Additional Child Needs: Other items like educational expenses and any specific expenses associated with the special needs of a child depend on a family’s specific circumstances. These costs can either be split 50-50 or in another way depending on each parent’s amount of discretionary income.
How Is Child Support Calculated?
How much a person owes in child support mostly depends on the difference in disposable income between the parents and how much time children will be spending with each parent. Here are some additional factors that influence child support payments:
- Self-Employment Income: All forms of taxable income are considered, including income made while a parent is self-employed.
- Retirement Contributions: Pre-tax contributions to retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs are considered disposable income, so they are considered in child support payments. Any payments made by an employer meant to match personal contributions are not considered.
- Some Non-Taxable Income: There are certain sources of untaxed income that are still calculated in child support payments, including:
- Military allowances for housing and food
- Disability benefits
- Some Social Security income
- Worker’s Compensation
- Health Insurance: Any money paid for insurance premiums reduces the amount of disposable income available for child support payments.
- Other Child Support Payments: If a parent is already mandated by a court to provide child support to other children, this can reduce their amount of disposable income.
For How Long Do I Pay Child Support?
Child support payments do not immediately start just because a couple with children gets divorced. Once a request is filed and responded to, child support payments are calculated and verified by a judge in court. Once this agreement is settled, child support payments begin.
A payment can also apply retroactively for as long as a child support case has been filed. This means that the non-custodial parent can potentially owe child support payments for the time between the case being submitted and the court reaching a ruling. This prevents parents who need to pay child support from purposely delaying the trial to avoid making payments.
Child support payments do not need to remain fixed over time. If a parent’s financial situation changes, then payments might be adjusted. This can also apply to a change in a parent’s tax filing status to reflect another marriage or divorce.
In order for a parent to stop having to pay child support, one of the following must apply:
- A child must either:
- Graduate from high school and be 18 or older
- Still attend high school or turn 19 years old, whichever comes first.
- The child marries
- The child signs up for military service
- The child is granted legal emancipation
- The child dies
If a parent pays too much or too little in child support, it is possible for the court to require payments or reimbursements accordingly.
Q: What Is Section 406 A of the California Family Code?
A: Section 406 A of the California Family Code refers to additional elements that must be considered when calculating child support. This is to address costs associated with raising children outside of basic living expenses. It mainly requires child support payments to include child care expenses like daycare so that the custodial parent can attend work or school. It also requires uninsured healthcare costs to be included in child support payments.
Q: How Much Will I Have to Pay in Child Support in California?
A: The specific amount a parent must pay in child support varies depending on their individual situation. The court takes many factors into account, including how many children are involved, the difference between the custodial and non-custodial parent’s income, and how often the children will be spending time with each parent. On average, child support payments in California range from $400-$500 a month.
Q: How Does Child Support Work in California?
A: Once a child support case is started by a parent or guardian, their local child support office will contact them to ask for further details and locate both parents. The parent being asked to pay child support will receive documents that need to be responded to within 30 days. A response may include testing to determine the parentage of the child. Next, both parties go to court and work with a judge to determine the payment amount.
Q: Do I Have to Pay Child Support With 50–50 Custody in California?
A: Child support payments are calculated in part based on how much time children are spending with each parent, but it is a more complex issue than simply calculating custody. Things like income disparity between both parents are also considered, as well as healthcare and childcare costs. If each parent makes roughly the same amount of money, then child support might not be granted to either parent, but each case is different.
Khalaf Law Group: Offering Individual Solutions to Child Support Issues
Child support issues often arise during divorce proceedings, and dealing with both issues simultaneously can be extremely complicated. A lawyer can help you work through this difficult time and plan an appropriate course of action. Schedule a consultation with the Khalaf Law Group to create a fair child support plan for you and your children.