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Bay Area Family Attorneys > Blog > Child Support > Common Child Support Questions in California

Common Child Support Questions in California


Most parents would agree that our children are the most important parts of our lives. Regardless of anything else going on, we will do anything for our children. That does not stop if the parents of children divorce. Parents continue to provide care for children even after any marriage or relationship comes to an end. Unfortunately, change can look scary and divorce and child custody and support arrangements are a change, certainly, for most family units. Most families have to make a dollar stretch further after a divorce. Instead of one household, parents are trying to keep two households afloat. Trying to make sure our kids have everything they need in both places. In time, one or both parents may gain a significant other who brings their own children into the mix that need to be provided for.

With all of this change and demand on our resources, thoughts very often turn to the topic of child support fairly early on in the divorce process. This article is going to go over the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding child support in California. While this list is by no means exhaustive, it can help parents begin to understand the concepts and ideals around this segment of the law, and begin to wrap their minds around what to expect as they move forward in the dissolution of their relationship.

  1. What is Child Support?

“Child Support” refers to payments made by one parent to their children’s primary custodian. It can be expensive, but is vitally important. The purpose of child support is to ensure our children’s wellbeing and financial stability.

  1. What Does Child Support Cover?

Child support is meant to cover the regular, daily expenses of child rearing. This includes covering the cost of basic necessities such as a safe and secure home, food, medical costs, clothes, costs associated with education, costs associated with childcare, etc.

While extras/more can be added, at its core child support is meant to cover the necessities for your child’s life and wellbeing.

  1. Who Gets Child Support?

As mentioned briefly in one of the above sections, California typically awards child support payments to the primary custodian of the child. This is the parent who most often has the child in their custody and has the most overnights.

The amount of time that each parent has custody of the child will factor into the amount of money the court feels it is fair to award in child support payments. A parent who essentially splits custody 50/50 with their co-parent might expect to receive lower child support payments than a parent who has sole custody of the children. This is because the court assumes that the non-custodial parent is incurring the cost of caring for the children while they are in the other parents’ care.

In most cases, these payments continue until the child hits 18 or graduates high school, whichever happens later. There are, however, certain circumstances where it lasts longer. Your divorce decree and parenting plan should detail all of the specifics. More on that later.

  1. How is Child Support Amount Determined?

California courts weigh many factors when determining the amount of child support awarded. This includes, as previously mentioned, the amount of time the child spends in the custody of each parent. This also includes the unique needs of the particular child, the income of the parents, and the cost of living.

Contact Cardwell, Steigerwald Young

Whether you are just starting down the path to divorce or have a contentious issue that needs to be resolved – our expert team can help. Contact the experienced San Francisco family lawyers at Cardwell, Steigerwald Young today.




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