Davis Child Support Lawyers Representing Northern California

  • Pakpour Banks is based in Davis, CA, and is proudly serving Davis, Woodland, Sacramento, West Sacramento, Vacaville, Dixon, Fairfield, Roseville, Elk Grove, and surrounding areas.
  • Our team has been successfully representing cases in Yolo County, Sacramento County, Solano County, Placer County, Colusa County, El Dorado County, and Yuba County.

When California spouses decide to divorce, child support can become a big worry. Issues involved with taking care of children often result in the most emotion-filled points of divorce negotiations. Both spouses want to protect their children and their financial future, so determining child support amounts can cause strife.

At Pakpour Banks LLP, our attorneys advocate for a fair child support determination, working to protect our clients from tough financial situations. We also try to help you resolve child support disputes quickly and calmly, avoiding extended litigation that can damage your co-parenting relationship whenever possible. If you need compassionate and knowledgeable Davis child support attorneys, contact our law firm for a consultation.

Here, we’ll explain California child support law, how courts determine child support amounts, and how payments can be modified after a judge puts an order in place.

What Is Child Support?

Child support is the monthly payment made usually by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to provide for the child’s basic needs. The custodial parent cares for the child most of the time, while the non-custodial parent sees the child less frequently. Child support laws assume that the custodial parent spends more money caring for the child and requires payments by the non-custodial parent to make the financial impact of raising the child more fair.

How Long Does a Parent Pay Child Support?

Parents have a duty to support minors. The non-custodial parent usually pays child support until the child turns 18 and graduates high school. Child support may discontinue before the child turns 18 in these circumstances:

  • The child gets married,
  • The child registers a domestic partnership,
  • The child joins the military, or
  • The child becomes self-supporting.

In some cases, child support payments continue past age 18. For instance, if the child has a disability or the parents agree to a longer support period (such as through college), payments must continue as long as they are legally required

How Much Does a Parent Pay?

California child support law includes a complex mathematical formula to determine the support amount, called the Statewide Uniform Guidelines, part of the California Family Code. The guidelines take these factors into account to determine child support payments:

  • Each parent’s circumstances and station in life,
  • Each parent’s net disposable monthly income,
  • How much time each parent cares for the children, and
  • The interests of children.

The court presumes the guidelines to be correct and awards less money than the guidelines recommend only in special circumstances. However, the court can consider factors that may increase the amount of child support owed.

What Income Must Be Reported to Calculate Child Support?

The court considers income from all sources when determining child support amounts. Sources of income considered in child support calculations may include:

  • Wages,
  • Self-employment income,
  • Tips and commissions,
  • Bonuses,
  • Spousal support,
  • Unemployment benefits,
  • Disability benefits,
  • Workers’ compensation benefits, 
  • Social Security income, and
  • Pensions.

After calculating a parent’s total income, the court determines their net disposable income. To determine net disposable income, the court subtracts these expenses from total income:

  • Taxes,
  • Health insurance premiums,
  • Mandatory union dues,
  • Mandatory retirement contributions, 
  • Child or spousal support payments, and
  • Living expenses related to children from another relationship.

Subtracting expenses from net disposable income gives the court a portion of the child support equation. Then, the court factors in the time each parent spends caring for the children and the total number of children to determine the child support amount. 

To get an estimate of your child support amount, use California’s Child Support Calculator or contact a family law legal team.

Can a Parent Avoid Paying Child Support?

Some parents think they can just not work to avoid paying child support. The courts have little patience for this strategy. If a parent who can work chooses not to in an effort to avoid paying child support, the court may determine the amount of income the parent should be earning and assess mandatory child support.

If a parent refuses to send ordered child support, you can ask the court to enforce the order. Payments will then be taken from the parent’s paycheck and sent to you. Parents who don’t send required payments can also face these consequences:

  • Suspended driver’s license and passport,
  • Revocation of professional licenses,
  • Liens on property and bank accounts,
  • Forfeiture of tax refund,
  • Forfeiture of lottery winnings, and
  • Civil contempt charges.

The California Department of Child Support Services offers online forms and information related to child support payment and enforcement.

What Other Expenses Must a Non-Custodial Parent Pay?

Parents must provide health, vision, and dental insurance for the child. The court may order one parent to pay this or both parents to split the cost. Childcare costs necessary for a parent to work or attend classes are also split between the parents. The court can add any other payments, such as for therapy or travel expenses, at its discretion.

What If a Parent’s Circumstances Change?

A parent’s circumstances may change, making the current level of child support inappropriate. You can request child support modification if either parent experiences a significant change in finances or childcare time. A court may modify child support when a parent loses a job, has an income increase or decrease, has a new baby, or goes to jail.

Contact our Experienced California Child Support Attorneys

If you have questions about child support payments in your custody agreement, you should contact an experienced lawyer. At Pakpour Banks LLP, we help families resolve child support disputes and find a solution in the best interest of the child. We vigorously defend your interests while encouraging you to work together with the child’s other parent to find a solution that works. We want to achieve the best outcome for you while avoiding costly litigation. To learn more about your legal options and ask our Davis child support lawyers questions, contact us for a consultation.