Child Support Law & Child Support Modification

Child Support Law & Child Support Modification

Speak With a Family Law Attorney for Proper Guidance

Whether a support order is required, a modification is needed, or arrearages need to be calculated and enforced, the attorneys at Quinn & Dworakowski are experts on such matters. We have substantial experience with California's complex child support guidelines whether you are potentially paying or receiving child support.

Frequently Asked Questions - Child Support / Modification

Q. Why do we need to have a child support order?

A. Child support "orders," is how the court sets the amount of support that must be paid by one party towards the other party to help in the cost of supporting the child. Without a proper order from the court, there is not obligation for the payment of any child support. Conversely, with a proper order in place, if a parent fails to pay his or her support obligation, wages may be garnished, and the offending parent may be jailed. It should be noted that the earliest date a court can issue child support is to begin is the date the request for support is filed with the court.

Q. What if the child's mother has filed for child support, but I don't think I am the father?

A. Both parents have a legal responsibility to financially support their children. If you do not believe you are a child's father, it is imperative that you challenge parentage at the earliest possible date. Failure to act promptly may lead to you having to pay for a child that is not yours. The support attorneys at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP will assist you in demonstrating to the court that you are not the child's father and should not have to pay support.

Q. How do I know that the amount of the child support order is fair?

A. In California, child support is primarily based on a statewide guideline. In other words, numbers are entered into a computer program and a support award is determined. The main factors in determining support are the number of children, the parties' incomes available for support, the parties' respective time-share with the child, the tax-filing status, and their tax-deductible expenses. While the Court may deviate from the computer calculation under select circumstances, generally, whatever amount the program calculated will be ordered by the court.

Q. I really don't know anything about the other parent's income.

A. In support actions, the parties must file income and expense declarations, along with supporting documents. These declarations are signed under oath and perjury on them may be severely punished. The support lawyers at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP are aware of the common lies and omissions that frequently take place on Income and Expense Declarations. They will take the necessary steps such as propounding discovery, subpoenaing bank records, credit statements, loan applications, employee records, etc. in order to accurately assess a deceiving parties' actual and true income.

Q. What is the California Child Support Guideline?

A. In California, Child Support is largely determined by a statewide algorithm. Specific factors are entered into a computer program, and the program determines the amount of Child Support to be paid. Factors considered include the parties' respective income available for support, the number of children, the timeshare with the children, the income of any new spouse, mortgage obligation, property tax obligations and other required expenses, a child's special needs, the cost of health insurance, etc. Once guideline support is determined, a court may deviate from this amount in only a few limited circumstances.

Q. Is child support still required if the parents share equal custody?

A. Unless the parties' respective incomes and expenses are comparable, yes, there will be child support owed by one of the parties to the other. As discussed above, timeshare is only once factor considered in the determination of Child Support. Our Child Support lawyers at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP are skilled in determining child support and ensuring that you and your child's best interest are protected.

Q. What if the other parent is not paying what the court ordered?

A. Failure to pay court-ordered Child Support is both a state and federal offense. If a parent is not paying his or her court-ordered Child Support, there are a number of options available to the payee to enforce the support order. These options include wage garnishment, property liens, revocation of the payor's driver's license and passport, and in the most egregious cases, a jail sentence. If you are owed Child Support, the attorneys at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP can take the necessary steps to help you enforce your court-ordered Child Support. Conversely, if you owe outstanding support, our support attorneys can help you get back on your feet by seeking modification of Child Support so that it is reflective of your financial situation, by negotiating a payment plan or an offer in compromise. We can also help you regain your driving privileges and defend your if your liberty is in danger.

Q. What if I do not want to pay the child support that the court ordered?

A. As a parent, you are obligated to economically contribute to your child. This means that in most situations, one parent will be ordered by the court to financially assist the other parent in this obligation. And as discussed, a Child Support order can be enforced even with incarceration. Once set, a Child Support order may only be modified by a subsequent Court Order. If you are unable to meet the demands of your current Child Support order, perhaps the order is not reflective of your income and ability to pay. Additionally, perhaps the other parent is not sufficiently contributing in light of their respective economic situation.

Your child support obligation will not go away by itself. When you stop paying your support, the amount owed accrues with 10% interest, there is not statute of limitations limiting the owed party's ability to collect, and the debt is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. Our support attorneys are experts in assisting the payor parent in managing their child support and petitioning the court to lower the payments.

Q. How do I change the child support order?

A. The only way to modify a Child Support order is by having a new order entered in its place. This new order may be stipulated to by the parties or ordered by the court following a hearing. If you believe that you are paying too much support, or are receiving too little, the Child Support attorneys at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP can help you get the modification you seek.

Q. What if I have a lot of bills?

A. In California, Child Support is largely determined by a statewide algorithm. Specific factors are entered into a computer program, and the program determines the amount of Child Support to be paid. Factors considered include the parties' respective income available for support, the number of children, the timeshare with the children, the income of any new spouse, mortgage obligation, property tax obligations and other required expenses, a child's special needs, the cost of health insurance, etc. Once guideline support is determined, a court may deviate from this amount in a few limited circumstances. Perhaps your situation fits within one of these circumstances. Contact the Child Support lawyers at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP to determine whether you meet the requirements to modify your Child Support Order. Keep in mind that until you obtain a modification, your obligation continues unabated, and any reduction in child support may only be made retroactive to the date the petition for modification is filed with the court. In other words, while you wait to modify your order, you may be overpaying Child Support, and that is money that cannot be recovered.

Q. I was ordered to pay child support a few years ago, but now the children are living with me. Can I stop paying?

A. It is never advisable to stop paying court-ordered Child Support. If you believe that the order should be modify, you should petition the court for a modification or seek a stipulation with the other parent to be filed with the Court. If you are in a situation where you stopped paying because the child stopped living with the payee parent, it may be possible to have the outstanding support discharged. The Child-Support lawyers at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP can assist you in defending an action by a parent seeking payment of owed Child-Support.

Call or Text (949) 660-1400 or click "Schedule Now" to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys who can assist resolving your family law matter.