Temecula, CA, Child Support Attorney

If you’re considering or are in the process of a divorce in Temecula, California, you’re likely already under a significant amount of emotional and financial stress. If you and your current spouse have a child, or multiple children, then the stress you’re already under can be amplified by the worry of what will happen to your kids after the divorce.

If we’re split up, how will I afford all the kids’ activities and the Temecula Valley School District activity fees, on top of the mortgage, utilities and food? How will our kids’ medical bills be taken care of? How will I pay for their Christmas gifts? These are some of the financial questions that may be running through your mind when you think about divorce and your children. And this is where child support comes in.

Child support payments are court-ordered payments that are typically paid by the high income parent of the child. But, there is a common misunderstanding in regards to child support: some people think that child support only requires the parent to pay for bare necessities, like food, shelter, and clothing.

The truth is that child support is meant to cover a wide range of expenses. School fees, trips to Pennypickle’s Workshop (the Temecula Children’s museum), and other forms of entertainment.

Every state has established child support guidelines for determining exactly when and how much a parent must pay to support his or her child after a divorce. Discuss these terms with an experienced family law attorney. The Family Law courts for all of Southwestern Riverside County are located in Hemet, a few miles to the north. Consider consulting a family law attorney whose office is close to the Court rather than close to your home.

But, in order to make wise decisions for yourself and your family — consult an attorney who understands the California guidelines — to ensure that the amount is calculated properly.

Julie Clark, Attorney at Law, whose office is just six blocks from the Family Law Court, has helped countless Temecula families through the process of determining child support. Knowing that the calculation of child support is a complex mathematical formula, a lawyer such as Julie Clark can take in to account the amount you and the other parent earn, the number of children that need support, your tax status and number of deductions, and more to ensure that all relevant factors are accounted for. If a certain financial aspect is not taken in to account, the amount of child support could be hundreds of thousands too much or too little.

But, even an experienced attorney can’t estimate the amount of child support correctly if you and your spouse do not disclose all the necessary financial documents and information. Whether you and your spouse have personal or joint expenses and accounts, as much financial information as possible is necessary to equitably determine child support payment order.

But, what exactly should you know about your finances in order to determine this number?

According to the California Department of Child Support Services, child support is determined based on income that can be in the form of money, property, and services:

  • Wages from a job
  • Tips
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses
  • Self-employment earnings
  • Unemployed benefits
  • Disability and workers’ compensation
  • Interest
  • Dividends
  • Rental income
  • Social Security or pensions

In addition to this laundry list of items, you should be prepared to speak with your lawyer about the exact amount you pay for your child’s daycare provider or caretaker (like a nanny or babysitter), the amount you pay for health insurance, and even a new spouse’s income.

As you might be able to tell, there is a lot that goes into the process of determining child support. In divorce court, the judge doesn’t have time to ask each party the questions that might reveal a factor that would affect child support order — it’s up to you and the other party to obtain that information and present it. Having a lawyer on your side will ensure that all the correct information is collected.

After the initial child support order is determined, and the divorce or separation is final, you might be wondering whether the child support payment is set in stone. Whether you’re the parent paying child support or your ex-spouse is, changing the amount on the order may prove difficult. There are several situations in which parents typically wonder whether child support payments will be reduced or increased.

If the parent paying child support loses his or her job in Temecula, will the child support payment be automatically changed?

The answer to this common question is “no.” Child support orders can only be changed by the creation of a new order or a stipulation approved by a judge in Temecula court.

If there is a change that you or your ex-spouse believe warrants a change in child support payments, you can request a review of your child support case. Changes to support orders are usually granted when there is a significant change in circumstances. These can include an increase or decrease in either parent’s earning, a change in custody based on extraordinary circumstances, or a change in the amount of time the child spends with each parent.

For example, if you have primary physical custody of the child and spend the most time caring and providing for him or her, but you are one day suddenly laid off from your job in Temecula, then there is valid reason to request an increase in child support payments from the other parent.

However, one circumstance where the child support may be reduced is if the paying parent also has to financially support other children from another relationship.

Child support is not just based on finances and changing financial situations. 

A child support order is also determined by the needs of your child or children. If your child has unique developmental, mental, or educational needs, then the child support order should take those sensitive factors in to account.

The age of the child also greatly affects the amount of child support necessary. Infants and younger children are usually less expensive to take care of. As children grow older, however, expenses tend to increase. Temecula children may get involved in sports teams or clubs at school later in life, resulting in additional activity fees.

Even later down the road, college might come into the picture. Child support orders usually terminate once the child reaches 19, or graduates from high school after the age of 18.

One aspect of child support that is important to know is that you and your ex-spouse can come to an agreement on the terms of child support together, based on your child’s needs. If you and your spouse are able to work together with an attorney to determine the amount based on the factors described above, then the child support order will likely seem easier to manage.

If you have further questions or concerns about child support for your Temecula family, don’t hesitate to contact the attorneys at Julie Clark, Attorney at Law for an appointment.