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Guideline to Child Support in California

San Diego, CA – When making orders for child support in California, family law courts are bound by a statewide uniform guideline. The child support guideline is a formula that considers several factors including the income of the parents and the amount of time that each parent spends with the children as part of child custody and visitation orders. Only in very limited circumstances do family law judges deviate from the guideline formula.

Generally, the most important factor when it comes to calculating child support orders is income. In most cases, income is easy to ascertain. Each parent will submit paystubs and tax returns and monthly income is determined based on proof of actual income. However, in some cases, the figure to be used for income in a child support case is not the actual income of a parent, but the “imputed” income of the parent. An imputation of income order is sought when either one parent is hiding income or when one parent is not working to his or her full potential.

In order to obtain an imputation of income order from a family law judge, the requesting party must prove two things: 1. That the other party has the ability to earn a certain level of income, and 2. That the other party has the opportunity to obtain a job that pays a certain level of income. As with any court case, for both elements, evidence must be provided to the court in support of the request. An experienced California child support lawyer will know how to properly present a case for imputed income orders.

When it comes to child support orders, the policy of the State of California is that both parents contribute equally to the financial support of the children. Often, especially in the very beginning of a divorce case when one parent has been a stay at home mother or father for a significant period, it will take some time for that parent to become employed. In cases like this child support, orders may be made based on zero income for the supported spouse and the wage earner can be shocked by the high level of support. However, family law judges will generally set review hearings periodically in order to ensure that the non-wage earning parent is working toward becoming employed.

Every child support case is different with unique circumstances. In order to get an accurate evaluation of your child support case, you should consult with an experienced divorce lawyer or family law specialist. The family lawyers at Griffith, Young & Lass have experience with child support cases in family court and Department of Child Support Services cases. Call now to speak with attorneys John Griffith, Catie Young, or Amy Lass about the facts or your case.