Joan A. Watters, Esq. 
                                                                                                                                                             California Attorney

FREQUENTLYasked                                        Child Support

We try to anticipate questions you might have and provide general information here. The following is not to be considered legal advice.  If you need additional information please schedule an appointment for an informational consultation with the attorney today.


 What Is California "Guideline" Child Support?

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The California Family Code Section 4050-4076 provides a statewide uniform guideline for determining child support.  The Code establishes a formula that is nearly impossible to calculate without the use of specialized support calculation software.  The family court judge is authorized to order either or both parents to pay any amount necessary for the child's support.  Parents may stipulate to an amount that is below the statewide support guideline if certain conditions are met and the court approves the agreement.   


How Much Child Support Will I Pay/Receive?

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The determination of the amount of child support required under the California statewide guidelines depends on many factors, including income, the amount of time each parent will have primary custodial responsibilities, and many other factors.  The court has discretion to assign an "earning capacity" to a parent and/or deviate from guidelines under certain circumstances.  Parents can decide the appropriate amount of support without court litigation. We suggest parents consult with a settlement attorney who can assist them in reaching a settlement without court battle.    


Can We Agree To An Amount That Is Not "Guideline" Child Support?

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Both parents can agree an amount of child support that differs from the amount that would be established by guideline formulas.  However, in order to obtain a court order by Stipulation, certain Family Code provisions will be required to be included in the order, and the Stipulation must be approved by the court.


Do I Need To Go To Court To Get An Order?

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If you have minor children, your final Judgment in a divorce proceeding or paternity proceeding will contain support provisions.  During the pendency of the proceedings, you can obtain support orders by filing a motion with the court noticing a hearing on your request, or by entering into a properly drafted stipulation, which can be submitted to a judge for approval and entry.  Post divorce modification of orders can be made by written agreement submitted to the court in proper form, or by modification proceedings.   


I Have 50/50 Timeshare, Do I Still Have To Pay Child Support?

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It depends.  Timeshare is but one factor to consider when calculating guideline support.  Sharing equal time does not automatically result in a zero amount of guideline support.  Income of both parents, and all other factors, along with timeshare, will determine the proper amount under guideline.  Many parents who share equal time do not share equal income. 


What Happens If I Lose My Job, Or My Earnings Change?

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Once a child support order is in place, a change in circumstance can create a need to modify an existing order.  If a parent loses his/her job, this may create a basis for modification.  Until modified by court order however, the obligation remains as ordered, and is enforceable until modified.  You should seek a consultation with an attorney in the event a change of circumstance occurs after a support order is entered.


How Do I Find Out What The Other Parent Earns?  

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During the pendency of a divorce proceeding, the parties are required to exchange Income and Expense Declarations and documents can be subpoenaed.  Once an order has been entered, and as long as a support obligation exists, either parent can request from the other a request for current income and expense declaration.  Family Code Section 3664, Judicial Council Form FL 396.  


Must I Go To Court To Change My Child Support Order?

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Under many circumstances, Parents can agree to modify court orders.  If an agreement is reached to modify an existing child support order, a stipulation can be drafted, and if in proper form, can be submitted to a judge for approval and entry.  We recommend consulting with an attorney regarding modification of court orders.    


How Can The Attorney Help Me With My Child Support Questions? 

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We offer telephonic consultation.  An initial informational telephonic Consultation can be scheduled using our online scheduling calendar, or by request.  If you need legal representation, or just coaching services, and we decide to enter into an attorney/client relationship, we will then open a case file for you and enter into a written agreement for services.  You will then be able to schedule telephonic or in office consultations at your convenience.  Consultation services are prepaid.  The attorney can meet with one or both parents to assist in negotiating a proper child support order for your family.  We encourage you to contact this office and schedule an initial informational consultation.  A one hour in office consultation can be scheduled accessing our online calendar.  Or, you can schedule an informative initial telephonic consultation.  The attorney provides mediation services, coaching services, or full legal representation.  

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