Archive for the ‘ Child Support ’ Category

Can a Child Custody Order Be Modified?

Posted on: October 24, 2017 by in Child Support
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Child custody orders in California are carefully considered before being put into force.  But, what if circumstances change?  What if the factors that influenced the court in their findings become significantly different over time?  Can an appeal be made to modify the custody order? In a word, YES!  Here are some changes that can support the modification of previous orders, according to our child custody lawyers.

Child Preference

As the child grows, they are likely to change their view of the arrangements.  Maybe they desire to see the non-custodial parent more often.  They may even decide that they want to live with them.  They may also decide, or have legitimate reasons for not wanting to see them.  The courts will listen to the child, depending on age and maturity, and may find grounds for the custody order to be modified.

The Non-Custodial Parent Has a Different Work Schedule

This is a very common problem.  A non-custodial parent may have custody on Wednesday evenings and every other weekend.  A change at their job now requires that the parent works late on Wednesday and throughout every weekend.  Their new days off will be Monday and Tuesday.  An appeal should be made to the court for a visitation schedule that allows the parent to keep their job and maintain a relationship with the child.

The Non-Custodial Parent Moved to be Closer to the Child

The non-custodial parent may have lived a considerable distance from the child, and therefore, was not granted custodial status for practical reasons.  Having made the move to be closer to the child, the court can be petitioned for a change in custody arrangements, if all other factors are favorable.

The Custodial Parent is Acting Irresponsibly

This would cover a lot of different scenarios.  If the parent is not getting the child to school, or has developed a habit of getting them there late every day.  The custodial parent may be dealing with substance abuse issues.  Perhaps there are risky situations the child is being put in.  Maybe the child is not doing well in school, and the custodial parent is not taking steps to help.   There are really a lot of situations that could be considered irresponsible.

One of the Parents Wants to Relocate

This situation can apply to a custodial or non-custodial parent.  It’s a fact of life that people sometimes need to move for a different job, better cost of living, better support system, etc.  When it will affect a standing custody agreement, the court should be notified, and a new custody agreement drawn up to reflect the changes in circumstances.

Don’t Assume Cooperation

Hopefully, for the sake of your child, you are able to co-parent with your child’s other parent.  Even in the best of cases, you should not assume cooperation when it comes to recognizing these changes in circumstances.  You should go to the court with a child custody lawyer and ask them for a modification to the original orders.  Be prepared to give your reasons, and make sure you are not acting to spite the other parent.  If things have changed since the original orders, they can change again.  Get it in writing from the courts.

Child Custody and Moving

Posted on: October 22, 2017 by in Child Support
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So, you’ve got a custody order in place, and everything is working smoothly.  All of a sudden you get a job offer in another state.  Or, the other parent lets you know that they will be moving, and that they intend to move the child with them.  There are many reasons that one parent or the other may wish to change locations, and move out of the area.  Maybe one of you is getting remarried.  The new job offer we mentioned above may be coming to fruition.  Maybe one of you needs to move closer to family for a support system.  How does this affect standing custody orders?

Move Away

In California, this situation is called a “move away,” and should be heard in court.  An agreement can be made between the two parties, as long as it is agreed to by both, and submitted to the court for approval.  If this is not possible, hire a child custody attorney, and start preparing your move away case.

What the Court Will Look At

If the parent wishing to move has sole physical (and possibly sole legal) custody, and the non-custodial parent sees the child infrequently, the non-custodial parent has a tough job ahead of them showing the detriment to the child.  If you want to defend your position in this case, spend as much time as you are legally allowed to with your child.  If you’re not interested in having a relationship, but trying to stop the other parent from moving out of spite, your interest will not be considered at great length.

Custodial Parents Who Want to Move

If you are a custodial parent that is considering a move, and you want to keep things as simple as possible, consider the following suggestions:

Be proactive – File an Order to Show Cause on your own, instead of as a reaction to the other parent.

Show your plans – Think of how you will allow the other parent to maintain a relationship with your child, and be prepared to show that you’ve given it some thought.

Let the other parent know – Give them, in writing, as much notice as you possible can.  This is not just for courtesy.  You may not get it through the courts quickly, so you want to act early.

Non – Custodial Parents Who Are Faced with Their Child Moving

If you are faced with your child moving to another state, protect yourself and your relationship with your child.  We mentioned above that you should have a history of showing that spending time with your child is a priority to you.  Here are some other things to consider:

Be proactive – As soon as you hear that the other parent is intending a move, file your Show Cause Order.

Compromise – Although it may not be the optimal situation for you, reach out to the other parent and try to come to an arrangement that you can present and file with the court.  This is the best situation for the child, and the fastest way to settle things, providing you can agree easily.

Does Custody Always Go to Just One Parent?

Posted on: October 21, 2017 by in Child Support
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In the state of California, there are two types of child custody that can be granted to one or both parents.  Below, our child custody attorneys take a look at the two classifications…legal custody, and physical custody. It’s possible to have any combination of the two components within an agreement.

Physical Custody

When you hear the phrase “physical custody,” that means that this is the parent that the child or children will live with.  The child may live primarily with one parent, or with one parent exclusively. This means that the parent is the “custodial parent” while the other parent is referred to as the “non-custodial parent.”

Sole Physical Custody

This means that one parent has custodial or residential rights.  The child lives with them.  The non-custodial parent may or may not be given visitation rights, depending on the circumstances and the ruling by the court.

Joint Physical Custody

In a decision for joint physical custody, both parents enjoy spending significant amounts of time with the child.  The child will live with each parent for an equal time, or close to it. Both parents are considered custodial parents in this case, and both have rights and obligations as such.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is more about the ability to make choices for the child.  Those with legal custody will decide what schooling the child will receive, whether the child will receive religious instruction, and what type of medical care is appropriate for the child.

Sole Legal Custody

A parent that has sole legal custody of a child is entitled to make all decisions that relate to health and welfare of the child.  They alone will decide where the child will go to school, what doctors they will see, and what church, if any, they will attend.

Joint Legal Custody

More common in California Law is the practice of “Joint Legal Custody.”  In this scenario, parents must decide together what the child’s best welfare is.  It is common in California that parents settle on a decision for Joint Legal Custody, even in cases of Sole Physical Custody.

Detriments to this preferred situation are cases where one parent is classified as “unfit” or otherwise unable to make decisions in the child’s best interest.  Sometimes, the inability of parents to work together towards the child’s welfare will make joint legal custody less than ideal.

Variations

As was mentioned earlier, there are many variations that can occur when it comes to custody arrangements and visitation rights.  Court decisions are always made with the best intentions for the child’s best interests.   Sometimes, a parent can have joint legal custody, with sole physical custody.  Often, they may share physical custody and legal custody.  If you are a parent that is facing a custody battle, your best strategy may be not to make it a battle at all, unless you fear for the safety of your child.  Instead, showing a willingness to work constructively with the other parent may actually gain you a lot more access and influence over the child’s life.

For more information, speak to our child custody lawyers today.

FAQS About Child Support in California

Posted on: July 19, 2017 by in Child Support
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child swinging in park

If you are getting a divorce in the state of California, if you are expecting to divorce, or if you are already divorced but dealing with a custody, visitation, child support, or alimony dispute, you must have an experienced California family law attorney advocating aggressively on your behalf and making certain that your rights are protected throughout the legal process. For divorcing parents, nothing is more important than your children, their well-being, and their future.

Often, when parents get divorced, one of the most divisive issues is child support. When a California judge orders a parent to pay child support, the order is not intended as a penalty or as a punishment but rather as a simple recognition of that parent’s legal responsibility.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about child support in California. The answers, however, can only be general answers because every family and every case is different. That is one reason why every parent who becomes involved in a California child support dispute must have the help and insights of an experienced family law attorney.

Q: What is the legal definition of child support?

A: Under California law, child support is the payment that a parent makes to help cover a child’s living expenses. All parents are obligated by law to contribute financially to the care of their children, and after a divorce in California, both parents are still equally legally obligated. California courts typically order the non-custodial parent to make ongoing child support payments to the custodial parent after a divorce.

Child support is paid in California until a child is 18 years old and may continue past age 18 if both parents agree, if the child still attends high school (until the child’s 19th birthday), or if the child is mentally or physically disabled.

Q: How are child support payment amounts determined in this state?

A: California lawmakers have established statutory guidelines to help judges decide what amount of child support a non-custodial parent should be obligated to pay. The guidelines spell out a complex child support formula or “calculator” based on the income of each parent and the amount of time each parent spends with the child.

If you expect to be involved in a child support dispute, you will need tax returns, paycheck stubs, 1099s or W2s, and any other documents that provide personal financial information. An experienced Cerritos family law attorney can make certain that you are paying or receiving a just and proper amount of child support.

Q: Can the guidelines be overlooked if a non-custodial parent faces financial hardship?

A: The court may approve a hardship deduction if the parent who pays child support has unexpected medical costs, uninsured catastrophic losses, or becomes the parent of another child – naturally or through adoption – from another relationship. In these kinds of circumstances, the courts have wide discretion, and a judge may or may not decide to approve a request for a hardship deduction.

Q: What if the parent who pays child support passes away before the child turns 18?

A: A recent ruling by California’s Fifth District Court of Appeals makes it clear, in the court’s words, “that a child support obligation survives the death of the supporting parent and is a charge against his or her estate. In addition to being a charge against a supporting parent’s estate, court-ordered child support becomes a charge against that parent’s living trust, when his or her assets are in such trust rather than in an estate.” Sometimes, life insurance may be part of a child support agreement, and in some cases, a California judge may order a parent to buy and maintain a life insurance policy which names the children and the other parent as beneficiaries.

Q: What if a child support order needs to be changed?

A: Over time, circumstances and finances may change for one or both of the parents, and the first child support order may have to be modified. A modification of the child support order may be justified by unemployment or a change of jobs; by illness, injury, or disability; by a move to another state or even another nation; by a new child with a new partner; or by a criminal conviction and/or a jail or prison sentence.

If the parent who pays child support becomes unemployed, for example, he or she cannot simply stop making child support payments. That parent must request a modification of the child support order from the court. In southern California, if you need to have a child support order modified – or if you need to dispute your spouse’s request for a child support modification – have an experienced Cerritos family law attorney handle the matter on your behalf.

Q: What can happen if a parent who is ordered to pay child support fails to pay?

A: If a California court has ordered your ex to pay child support that you are not receiving, a good family lawyer can help you to take legal action. The tools that a California court can use to compel child support payments include wage garnishments, interception of tax refunds, levies on bank accounts, and charging the delinquent parent with contempt of court.

Parents who seek the enforcement of child support orders should clearly understand that if the delinquent parent is jailed, unless that delinquent parent has other income or assets such as a car or a house, it may be impossible to collect any child support while that parent is in custody.

When a child receives child support funds through a state agency, that agency can file a lawsuit to compel a parent to make payments. If you are sued for child support by a state of California child support agency, obtain legal counsel at once.

You must respond within thirty days. An experienced and trustworthy Cerritos family law attorney can help a parent on either side of any child support dispute in southern California.

Q: How can child support disputes be avoided?

A: The best way to avoid the acrimony and the cost – in both time and money – that are inevitably involved in a child support dispute is for both parents to have a cooperative attitude and a willingness to compromise from the beginning. California courts always decide these cases based upon what the courts consider “the best interests of the child,” but when the parents can reach a mutual agreement regarding child support payments, a California court will almost always accept and “sign off” on that agreement. A good family lawyer can help parents come to an agreement that the court will approve.

How to Calculate Child Support in California?

Posted on: October 2, 2015 by in Child Support
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In California, there are pre-existing guidelines that help determine child support. If however, in spite of adhering to these guidelines, you are unable to determine youngster assist payments, it is best to defer the decision to a judge.

Overall, the following factors are taken into consideration for the calculation of child support.

• The income of the parents- this can include not just income from wages, and business profits, but also income from Social Security benefits, worker’s compensation benefits, and other types of state benefits.
• The number of children the youngster asssit payments must cover
• The tax status of the parents
• Whether the parent is already financially responsible for children from other relationships
• The cost of health insurance premiums
• Mandatory expenses, like mandatory retirement payments, for union dues
• Cost of taking care of the children, like daycare costs, and healthcare costs

These are just some of the factors that may be taken into consideration, while determining child assist payments in your case. If you still have questions about youngster assist payments that the court may order you to make, or the child support payments that you may be eligible for, speak to a Los Angeles child support lawyer. It’s important to protect your child’s right to support by speaking to our Los Angeles child support lawyers and seeking expert legal guidance.

Reasons That Might Call for a Modification of Child Support Order

Posted on: September 30, 2015 by in Child Support, Family Law
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When the parents’ financial situation changes, there may be the need for modification of the child support order. One or both of the parents may need a modification in the youngster custody order, and this is a process that must go through the court.

Remember, that if the judge in your situation ordered youngster support that was much below the guideline amount, then you do not have to present any evidence of a change in your circumstances to ask for a child custody modification. However, in other cases, you are required to present evidence of a change in your financial circumstances or the circumstances of the other partner in order to get a modification. Speak to a Los Angeles child support attorney about how you can modify your youngster custody order.

For instance, you may wish to ask for a modification based on a change in your income, or your spouse’s income, or both. If a spouse has lost his job, or has recently had another youngster from another relationship, or has been incarcerated, he may wish to ask for modification of the child support order that will result in a lower child support payment.

The court will also consider evidence of changes in the amount of time that the child spends with each parent. Additionally, the court may also consider a need for increased youngster support due to increased childcare costs, including increase in the cost of daycare, health care premiums, or other costs. Talk to a Los Angeles child support lawyer for help modifying a child support order.

What You Need to Know about Child Support Modifications

Posted on: September 28, 2015 by in Child Support, Family Law
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It’s important to speak with a lawyer, and understand how your request for child support could actually affect your child support payments. Remember, the youngster support payments are calculated, not based on your need for the modification, but based on an existing child assist calculator. These guidelines are taken into account by the court, and the result of the modification request may not be exactly what you expected.

Say, for instance, you go to court to ask for a modification of the child support order, because you recently lost your job. You expect that the court will order lowered youngster support payments in your case. However, the court may also take into consideration the fact that your ex-partner has lost a job or suffered a financial disaster during the same period of time. Therefore, the tribunal could actually decide to increase your youngster assist payments. If you were expecting a decrease, this new decision could leave you financially distressed.

It’s therefore important to speak with a Los Angeles child support lawyer, and determine how a court will apply the existing youngster assist guidelines to your case to make a decision. Use the existing calculator to recalculate how the court will possibly make a decision in your modification case. Talk to a child support lawyer for help.

How is Child Support Calculated in California?

Posted on: June 17, 2015 by in Child Support
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In California, youngster assist payments are calculated based on a number of factors. The two main factors are parental income, and the amount of time that each parent spends with the child. Child assist payments may also vary depending on the specific medical needs of the youngster and parental expenses, including mortgage payments, tax deductions, payroll deductions, insurance costs and other expenses.

In California, the courts will use these preset guidelines to determine youngster assist. However, if you believe that you require additional youngster support for any reason, it’s important to work together with an attorney to make sure that your rights are protected. A Los Angeles child support attorney will negotiate to ensure that you receive a payment that is fair to you.

In California, the judge may determine child support payments based on a predetermined calculator, and if the judge is required to deviate from the set guidelines, he will need solid proof of the reason why it is necessary. In other words, if you want additional youngster assist, then you must be able to convince a judge that there is a need for this. For example, if the child has special needs, or if one parent has an extraordinarily higher income than the other parent, then a judge may decide that changes in the support are warranted.

For help determining youngster assist payments in your case, speak to a Los Angeles youngster  support attorney.