PASADENA CHILD SUPPORT LAWYER
When you find yourself dealing with the proceedings of a divorce, you will want to educate yourself thoroughly on the subject of Child Support and the best way to choose a child support lawyer. Whether you are the primary provider or the primary caregiver, child support affects both parties in a divorce. By definition, child support refers to the total sum that a non-custodial parent must pay to the primary custodial and caregiving parent on behalf of the child or children. This monetary amount provides parental contribution for a child’s basic living requirements, including food, clothing, shelter, health care, education and miscellaneous expenses. Payments are made from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent directly and are never made directly to the child. Child support is paid up until the age of 18, when the child in question is no longer a minor.
Parents are required to provide child support to their biological children only, and a court cannot order an individual to legally provide compensation for a step-child unless that child has been formerly and legally adopted.
How is Child Support Determined
Child support periodic installments and amounts are determined by trial courts and the amount varies between each case. Factors that contribute to the determination of child support amount and payment frequency include a child’s age, the specific health needs of a child, specific and often special educational needs and the overall standard of living that the child would have enjoyed had the family stayed together. The court will make specific decisions for child support amounts based on both the custodial and non-custodial parent’s net monthly income that they bring in as well as requiring a parent to pay a certain percentage of their annual salary. In some situations, the court may also require that a certain percentage of any annual bonuses received be submitted as child support.
The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act
Without regard to marital misconduct, the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act requires a parent to pay the reasonable amount necessary for a child’s ongoing support. Factors that contribute to this determination are a child’s financial resources that they have at their disposal, a primary caregiver’s available financial resources and the overall standard of living for the child had the marriage continued. The emotional, physical and psychological condition of the child is also carefully considered, as are specific education and/or health needs.
Other Forms of Child Support
Besides basic living expenses required for the ongoing well being of a child, additional payments to cover expenses such as future medical or dental expenses, vacations expenses, camp or extracurricular expenses and private school expenses.
Enforcement of Child Support – Child Support Lawyer
In an effort to maintain ongoing child support obligations, Congress created the Federal Parent Locator Service, which allows for authorized information on a particular individual under obligation to pay child support. In situations where a parent fails to comply with child support obligations, they may be held in contempt of court, suffering extensive fees and court costs.
Federal law makes it illegal for an individual to willfully fail to pay child support in certain circumstances, making them subject to federal prosecution in such situations. A violation of child support payment that is past due for longer than one year and exceeds $5,000 is considered a criminal misdemeanor and a convicted offender faces up to 6 months in prison. Violations that exceed 2 years of non-payment and $10,000 are considered a criminal felony and offenders face fines and up to 2 years in prison.