California Child Support

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California, the most populous state of the USA, has a higher divorce rate. The rate has reached a staggering 75%. As a result, the state came to be termed as, 'the Divorce Capital of the World'. Many divorces in this state have child support and child custody issues. California divorce child support guidelines have been developed to address the related issues. According to these guidelines, the parents must reach a mutual agreement regarding the amount of child maintenance or else the judge will decide. The judge takes this decision taking into account a number of factors like the after-tax income of either parents, the amount of time each parent has the physical custody and related factors.

Here we present truthful information regarding child maintenance in California. Whether you are a custodial or a non-custodial parent, you must be aware of your rights and responsibilities, and this information will help you to achieve that.

Child Support Services provided by the Court

Each and every child in this state has the right to be supported by their father and mother. Each individual, inclusive of a non-custodial parent, is empowered to apply for child support services. This right exists irrespective of whether this individual receives public assistance or otherwise.

Some of the court services that are in existence are as follows:

  • Collection and distribution of support payments
  • Enforcement of a spousal support order when child support is owed
  • Modification of an existing court order for medical support and child subsidy
  • Establishment of the following:
    • Medical support order
    • Child subsidy order
    • Paternity
  • Determination of the location of the parent(s) for reasons of enforcement of support

Essential information regarding California Divorce Child Support

In order to open a child support case, some application packages have been developed. These demand the following information, as applicable to each case. It must be kept in mind that if the applicant furnishes maximum information it becomes simpler to collect the support amount.

  • A copy of the following documents, if they exist:
    • Separation agreement
    • Divorce decree
    • Marriage license
  • Each child's birth certificate
  • The non-custodial parent's:
    • Social Security Number
    • Date of birth
    • Physical description (if photographs are provided, they are of utmost help)
    • Income
    • Any assets
  • Complete legal name and address of the parent from whom child maintenance is expected
  • If the non-custodial parent has any relatives or friends, then their names and addresses
  • The name and address of the most recent or present employer of the non-custodial parent

Highlights of California Divorce Child Support

  • In California, both parents have the legal responsibility to support the child, financially.
  • The state has developed guidelines for determination of the amount. The basis of these guidelines is as follows:
    • The monthly income of the parents
    • The amount of custody and visitation allocated to each parent
  • The law in this state declares that child maintenance can be enforced till the child attains 18 years of age, except if the child is a full time student in high school although they are 18.
  • After the child completes 18 years, the payments of child support would cease depending on of the following situations that might occurs earlier:
    • The 19th birthday of the child
    • Completion of graduation from high school
  • From May 1, 2006 onwards, the SDU (California State Disbursement Unit) has the responsibility of collecting and distributing support payments.
  • Support payment in this state is tax-neutral. It means that the receiver of the payment need not pay tax for this income and the payer also cannot escape tax for this payment.
  • Modification of support payment is possible if circumstances change. Such circumstances include cases where the income of the parents increases, or there is a change in the arrangement of the child's physical custody.

On behalf of the state of California, the Child Support Services Department offers some services related to child support. It may be noted that if an individual requests for these services, no charge is levied. However, the individual must cooperate with this department by revealing the essential information and furnishing the required documents.

If the individual is eligible for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) or public assistance, their case is automatically forwarded to the above-mentioned department.

It may be mentioned here that in California the child support services are delivered through local child support agencies. There are 52 support agencies providing the following services:

  • To establish paternity
  • To establish, modify and enforce a court order for child subsidy and health insurance coverage
  • To locate a parent

If you want to apply for these services, you have to complete the Application for Child Support Services Packet, and then return it to the county support agency in your area. Examples of few packets can be cited here:

  • DCSS-0054: Health Insurance Information
  • DCSS-0373: Simplified Application for Child Support Services
  • DCSS-0064: Notice of Child Support Services Program
  • DCSS-0569: Declaration of Support Payment History

All these information on California divorce child support coupled with an attorney's advice will ensure that both the parents are not taken advantage of. Thus they can happily contribute in upbringing their child without creating conflicts of interests.

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