San Francisco Child Support Attorney
In any divorce involving minor children, the court will typically order one parent to pay child support to the other, with payments usually flowing to the parent with primary custody of the children. Child support orders are essential to making sure every child is adequately supported and that all parents are fulfilling their legal and moral obligations to support their children. Whether you are the parent who will be paying or receiving support on behalf of the kids, you want to know that your children are being fully supported and that the amount of the child support obligation was reached in a fair manner. The family law and divorce attorneys at Cardwell Steigerwald Young LLP can guide you through this process and provide technical assistance and courtroom representation as needed to protect your interests and those of your children. Learn more about California child support issues below and contact our experienced San Francisco child support attorneys for advice, counsel, or immediate assistance in your divorce or child custody matter.
California Child Support Guidelines and How Our Bay Area Child Support Lawyers Can Help
Child support in California flows from several key principles: payments should reflect each parent’s actual income and level of responsibility for the children, parents should pay according to their ability, and children should share in the standard of living of both parents with no significant disparity in living standards for children raised in two homes. Above all else, the interests of the children are the top priority in any child support determination.
To calculate an appropriate amount of child support, the state follows guidelines and a formula that considers each parent’s income along with other factors such as the amount of time each parent spends with the children, whether a parent is already supporting other children, and costs such as childcare expenses, health care, health insurance, and any extraordinary medical or other special needs.
When calculating child support, courts look at income from each parent “from whatever source derived,” including, for example:
- Trust income
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Unemployment insurance benefits
- Disability insurance benefits
- Social Security benefits
- Spousal support received from a person not a party to the proceeding
Depending on your situation, reporting all your income correctly might be simple or complex, and the same goes for your spouse, especially if either of you is self-employed, a business owner, or receive income from unusual sources. Our Bay Area child support lawyers can help ensure that you and your spouse are both reporting income fully and accurately so that child support can be calculated accurately. If you think your spouse is underreporting income, hiding assets, or is purposely underemployed or unemployed, our team will enlist the aid of financial experts to make sure they are doing their part when it comes to supporting your children. We’ll make sure the court gets correct information regarding spousal income as well as other factors that impact the calculation of child support.
Our family law attorneys can also provide invaluable assistance when it comes to a proposed deviation from the California child support guidelines. The amount calculated using the guidelines is presumed to be correct, and child support should not fall below the guidelines amount except under special circumstances. That said, there are several reasons why the guidelines amount might be unjust or inappropriate and why it might be proper to select a different amount, including any extraordinary medical expenses or other special needs the child might have. Also, the parents are allowed to jointly agree on a different amount of support so long as they document why they are doing so.
CSY Family Law Group can help you and your spouse come to an agreement on child support and draft it in a form that will meet the court’s approval. Additionally, if one of you is proposing to deviate from the guidelines amount and the other is opposing a deviation, we’ll be sure to represent your interests and craft strong legal arguments in favor of your position, including in courtroom hearings as necessary. Our experienced attorneys and litigators work together to help you reach your goals in all matters related to your divorce or child custody dispute, including child support.
Contact Cardwell Steigerwald Young LLP Today
The family law attorneys at Cardwell Steigerwald Young LLP provide expert advice and effective representation in California divorce and custody matters. Call our experienced San Francisco child support attorneys today for a consultation and assistance with your needs.