Let’s face it, children are expensive. California’s policy is to ensure that both parents have the obligation to provide some financial support for their children, either directly in the payment of their day-to-day needs, or in financial support paid to the other parent. The calculation of child support considers a variety of factors, including:
- Timeshare (how much time each party spends with the children)
- Gross income of the parties (including bonuses and perquisites)
- Medical insurance premium payments
- Tax deductions and allowances
- Necessary child care
- Property tax and mortgage interest payments
- Additional factors to be discussed with your attorney
Simple as that, right? Unfortunately, it is not. While there is no dispute how child support is calculated (the calculation is set forth in the code and there are a few computer programs that do the calculation for you), complications arise over the factors used to calculate child support. The most common disputes arise over timeshare and income. When one parent is self-employed, or voluntarily un- or under-employed, disputes can arise over their particular income. Some parents receive a consistent salary, in addition to significant bonuses which can double or triple their annual income. The income of other parents may be dependent upon the commissions received in a given month. Parents who own businesses may not receive a direct salary, only taking “draws” from their company when necessary, or having their company pay their personal expenses. Determining the income of the parties can be a complicated road. Cooper Hughes has vast experience dealing with the complications of income, and utilizes forensic accountants when necessary
We analyze your situation and income, as well as the income of the other party, to determine the child support which is appropriate for you, as an individual.
Parents may decide upon a child support amount to be paid/received. If they cannot agree, the court will intervene and decide on child support for the parents. Child support lasts until the child marries, dies, is emancipated, reaches age 19, or reaches age 18 and is not a full-time high school student, whichever occurs first.
Once a child support order is put into effect, a paying parent is obliged by law to pay the court mandated amount of child support. Failure to pay the amount without first filing for a child support modification or securing a written agreement with the other parent could put a parent in contempt of court or subject them to substantial interest on arrears owed. If you need to modify child support due to a loss or change in employment, change in income, or change in the custodial schedule, Cooper Hughes can assess your situation to determine if it is prudent for you to file for a modification of your existing child support order.