When does California law require child support?
California and national law mandate that both parents, regardless of financial circumstances, contribute money to support their children. While a court might not always intervene to mandate child support, the law is clear that all parents maintain the responsibility to care for their children through child support.
What is child support, and how is it legally defined in California?
The term “child support” in the legal sense refers to a specific amount of money that one parent is ordered to pay the other as set by the court in cases where the parents are separated or divorced. Courts typically assign child support requirements to one or both parents in cases of divorce or when the child is born out of wedlock to unmarried parents who do not share a home.
The California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) is the state agency tasked with developing child support policy and overseeing child support services.
When is a parent obligated to pay child support?
In cases where the child support issue is in dispute, a family law attorney may be necessary to advocate on a parent’s behalf so that a fair and equitable solution can be reached.
Once the amount of child support is established, the regular contribution by the parent is non-negotiable; failure to maintain the required support can result in serious legal consequences, including, potentially, jail time.
How is the amount of child support determined?
The government uses a statutory formula in California to determine child support on a case-by-case basis. The factors considered under the statute include the income of each parent, how many children require support, and the amount of time that each parent spends with the child or children.
Under California law, every parent must contribute to the financial welfare of his or her children. In cases where the state child support system intervenes to mandate child support, the total amount will depend on the factors discussed above.