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Understanding Child Support in California

When two individuals decide to get married and have children, the typical emotions involved include excitement, joy, and anticipation. For many American spouses, welcoming a child into this world is an unparalleled experience. For some couples, the birth of a child is yet another on a list of milestones on a happy path through life together. However, for many others, the relationship sours, talks turn toward divorce, and couples begin to wonder how their children will be impacted.

Estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicate that it costs the average American family $233,610 to raise a child to 18 years of age. For spouses who have built a certain level of wealth and enjoy relatively equal income and earning power, this statistic may not be that scary. However, for spouses entering into divorce after years of unbalanced financial power, this can be a major concern, especially if the lower-earning spouse also maintains the majority custody over any children.

In California, the Division of Child Support Services maintains a variety of resources and support services for parents who are going through a divorce. While these resources are readily available online and easily digestible, they by no means fully prepare parents for going before a divorce court. To accomplish this task effectively almost always requires the recruitment of an experienced local divorce attorney.

While consultation with these legal professionals is always the best course of action, there are some general points of knowledge regarding child support in California to which all residents should be made aware. Therefore, this article aims to provide some basic information on how child support looks in California.

Calculating Child Support in California

There is no single child support amount that parents can expect when going through divorce court. Instead, a judge will look at a variety of factors unique to the specific case, including all income sources of both parents including work benefits and retirement/investment accounts. The judge will then deduct items such as state and federal tax obligations, job-related expenses, health insurance premiums, and any extraneous circumstances with related costs.

Dealing With Uncooperative Parents

Sometimes, a parent will intentionally take a job that pays lower than they are worth, or refuse to take a job at all, in an attempt to avoid having to pay child support. In these cases, a judge can impute an income onto the parent. This means that the court will look not at what the parent is currently earning, but the amount that the parent could reasonably be expected to earn if they were employed in a position for which they are qualified.

Enforcing Child Support Requirements

While a judge can impose an income onto a parent, that parent can still refuse to pay, sometimes by fleeing the state or country. Agencies such as the California Division of Child Support Services can help dependent parents track down a spouse who refuses to pay. In addition, a divorce attorney can utilize a variety of legal resources to help parents obtain the compensation they need to support their children.

Child Support Experts in San Jose

For years, the attorneys at SAC Attorneys have been helping divorcing parents in San Jose as they navigate the child support process. Contact SAC Attorneys today to review your case and determine the next steps toward resolution.

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