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Do You Have to Pay Child Support?

Every parent has a duty to provide financial support for their child. Child support in California is calculated based upon the monthly gross income of both parents and the amount of parenting time each parent has with the child. Simply put, the more time you spend with your child the less you pay in child support, because the law presumes that you provide financial support for your child during your actual parenting time. The less parenting time you spend with your child, the more you will presumably pay in child support. The income of both parents is also factored into this equation. Therefore, the more money you make in comparison to the other parent, the more you might have to pay in child support.

Are there cases where no child support is ordered? Yes. Specifically, if the parents have fairly equal parenting time, and fairly equal incomes, a properly-worded Stipulation can be approved by the Court that provides for zero child support. An experienced attorney must be utilized to make sure that the proper documents are filed with the Court. The documents must provide the Court with a legally-appropriate explanation as to why the Court should approve the exchange of zero child support. If the documents are not completed properly, the Court will reject them and require the exchange of child support. Child support is otherwise never waivable by either parent.

There are also circumstances where the parties may seek a deviation in the proper amount of child support. The Court may deviate to a higher or lower amount of child support than the law provides. This can also be done by way of agreement of the parties based upon their unique circumstances. However, again, an attorney knowledgeable in this area of law is critical to ensure that the Court will approve a request to deviate either higher or lower from the basic statutory amount of child support that the law provides.

Never rely upon oral agreements between you and the other parent when it comes to financial support. All agreements must be in writing and approved by the Court with an Order. If you have a Court Order for a specific amount of child support to be paid, never stop making the payment or pay less based upon an oral agreement. You could be held in contempt of court. Always seek legal representation to prepare a properly-worded written Stipulation outlining your agreement that will be filed and approved by the Court.

Remember, child support is always modifiable in California, so a change in circumstances will merit a potential change in the amount of child support paid or received, throughout the term that child support is to be paid. Always consult with a knowledgeable Woodland Hills divorce attorney before you make any decisions concerning child support.