Solano County Attorneys Handle Child Support in California
Knowledgeable family lawyers provide assistance in Fairfield, Vallejo and vicinity
As a parent, you want what is best for your child, even when that requires financial sacrifice. However, if you no longer live with your child’s other parent, that sacrifice should be divided fairly. Whether you’re seeking child support or must pay it, you have the right to proper terms based on your particular circumstances. At Favaro, Lavezzo, Gill, Caretti & Heppell, PC in Vallejo and Fairfield, our family law attorneys have extensive experience in California child support negotiations and proceedings. We know how to determine an appropriate level of contribution, and how to make a compelling argument on our clients’ behalf. In cases where rates are being set, as well as modification and enforcement actions, our attorneys provide the reliable representation you need.
How California courts calculate child support
Under California law, a child has the right to financial support from both parents. When the child lives with one parent, the noncustodial parent is required to pay support to the custodial parent. How much support depends on a variety of factors. The first factor is the net income of each parent. The court considers the total income from all sources, minus allowable deductions, such as mandatory retirement contributions, health insurance premiums, mortgage payments, union dues and taxes. The court also considers how much time the children spend with each parent, known as time-sharing, as well as the number of children to be supported. California law bases child support on the parents’ ability to pay, so parents with high incomes are expected to pay more per child than parents who earn less. To understand what you might be asked to pay, California has an online child support calculator. However, this is just an estimate and a skilled lawyer can advocate for a deviation if warranted by the facts in your case. The court always has discretion to differ from the calculator rate. Our attorneys are devoted to securing a suitable support order under your specific circumstances.
Filing for child support in California
Most child support cases arise as part of a marriage dissolution. Demands for child support are included in the petition for divorce. However, if the parents are not married, the children’s parentage must be legally ascertained. Sometimes, this happens around the child’s birth, when a father can voluntarily acknowledge paternity. Otherwise, paternity might have been established subsequently. If this did not occur, a separate legal action to determine paternity is required before child support is awarded.
Child support modification and enforcement in California
If a parent’s financial circumstances change dramatically, and those changes are likely to be permanent, a court can modify the existing child support order. Modifications can go downward or upward, depending on the situation. When a parent suffers a prolonged illness resulting in a drop of income, a modification downward may be appropriate. Alternatively, should a child develop specials need or a parent’s income increase substantially, higher payments might be justified.
A parent who is having trouble making support payments should immediately seek a modification. Failure to make payments can result in strong enforcement measures, including diversion of a parent’s income. Plus, unpaid child support collects interest, so your debt grows rapidly as time passes. You cannot rely on an informal agreement with the child’s other parent, because it has no legal validity. Your best course of action is to speak to a family lawyer as soon as trouble becomes apparent.
Contact a concerned family law attorney in Fairfield, Vallejo and vicinity
Favaro, Lavezzo, Gill, Caretti & Heppell, PC helps clients in Solano, Contra Costa and Napa counties obtain fair child support orders as well as modifications of existing orders. To learn more, call us today at 707-674-6057 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.