Experienced Child Support Attorney Representation
As a parent, you want the best for your child, especially in cases of divorce where children can tend to suffer. Establishing an appropriate child support structure is of top importance for ensuring your child is financially provided for.
At the Law Offices of William M. Strachan in Huntington Beach, California, we have represented and defended parents in child support disputes for 34 years. We have the expertise needed to understand what you’re going through and help you get the best results for your children.
What is Child Support?
Child support is the amount of money a parent or both parents are ordered to pay monthly to cover the expenses of raising children. A judge will determine the amount of child support based on statewide guidelines.
A parent is legally bound to pay child support until:
- The child turns 18 and has graduated from high school. Any child who is still a full-time high school student or attends part-time due to a medical condition will still receive support.
- The child turns 19 years-old
- The child marries, is legally free by joining the military or by some other means
- The child dies
Parents may also be ordered to continue to pay child support for a disabled adult child who cannot support themselves.
How is Child Support Calculated in California?
When a judge determines how much a parent must pay for child support in California, several factors will be considered to determine the net disposable income. These are:
- Parent’s income after taxes
- Mandatory union dues
- Mandatory retirement contributions
- Health premiums
- Child or spousal support that is already being paid
- Costs related to raising children from another relationship
The court will also look at other sources of income such as money, tips, bonuses, commissions, and overtime, as well as:
- Self-employment earnings
- Unemployment benefits
- Employment wages
- Social Security and pensions
- Dividends and stocks
- Rental property income
- Lottery winnings
There are instances where a court can deviate from the guidelines by either adding additional support or reducing support amounts below guidelines. Some factors the court can cite to deviate from the guidelines include:
- The parties stipulate a different amount
- A deferred sale of a family residence
- The parent paying child support has income that exceeds the needs of the children
- The parent paying child support has a very low-income
- Educational costs or other special needs of the child
- Travel expenses for visitation
In some instances, determining a person’s income is not easy. When people are self-employed, work for cash, and do not represent their income accurately, a client can hire a forensic expert to determine a parent’s true income and expenses.
Certified Family Law Specialist William M. Strachan represents both sides of a child support dispute. He helps clients either maximize or minimize the amount of child support the court will award.
How to Establish, Enforce, and Modify Child Support Arrangements
Sometimes legal issues arise even after a court finalizes child support. Circumstances may change or the other parent may choose not to follow through with payments. We represent clients seeking to modify or enforce child support.
Establishing Child Support Arrangements
To establish child support arrangements, you must open a child support case. Either parent or legal guardian can do so. To open a case in California, an online application must be filled out. Once this is done, the applicant will be contacted and the process can begin.
Enforcing Child Support Arrangements
If a parent has been ordered to pay child support, has the means, and has failed to do so, legal action can be taken. The parent’s employer may be contacted and the child support amount may be taken from their wages before they are paid. In some cases, parents can reach an agreement to have the child support paid without garnishing wages.
A parent can also be held in contempt of court. This could result in jail time. This is usually the last step when all other avenues have been exhausted. At the Law Offices of William Strachan, we represent clients seeking to have a child support order enforced. Contact us for a free consultation with Attorney Strachan.
Modifying Child Support Arrangement
Sometimes circumstances change from when the child support arrangement was first made. This can result in a modification. Some people ask for a modification under the following circumstances:
- Being laid off from work
- Getting a new job
- Changes in income
- Family size changes
- Becoming disabled
- Deployment to military service
- Going to jail
When you are seeking a modification in child support, you will need to provide proof of income and expenses as well as:
- Child care expenses
- Medical insurance
- Retirement income
- Unemployment benefits
- Disability or jail status
At the Law Offices of William Strachan, we can guide you through the process so that everything is done properly.
Are You Dealing with a Child Support Case?
If you are dealing with a child support case and need help either establishing, enforcing, or modifying it, contact The Law Offices of William Strachan for a free consultation to learn how we may be able to help you. Call us at 714-841-1931 or reach out to us online. We represent clients in Southern California, including Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Irvine, Long Beach and Seal Beach.