What is the court's role in child support disputes in California? | The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC
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What is the court's role in child support disputes in California?

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Basically, the amount of a child support award in California depends on the sources of income for both parents, financial needs of the child and other expenses. However, the final decision regarding child support is in the hands of a family law judge or court commissioner.

When you think about the role of a family law judge, you might think that the judge is only responsible for settling disputes over child custody and family law matters, such as divorce. The family law judge also has the final authority to make a decision regarding the financial issue of child support. The court has the right to decide which parent will have primary custody and who will be obligated to make child support payments and how much that payment will be. In California, the court will set the amount based on the following factors -- both parent's incomes and the percentage of time the child will spend with each parent. If both parents spend an equal amount of time with the child, the child support amount will likely be lower.

The court is responsible for modifying an existing child support order. Child support can be either increased or decreased, depending on the financial situation of the child support payer or the needs of the child. Considering that the cost of rearing a child is rapidly increasing, a parent may ask the court for additional support for daycare expenses, medical care and other needs. The court may lower the child support amount based on certain hardships or a change in financial circumstances of the non-custodial parent.

The court may also act on the custodial parent's behalf in cases of delinquency. If the parent has a child support order, the court may allow the local child support agency to enforce that court order.

Source: ChildSup.Ca.gov, "Child Support Handbook," Accessed Aug. 14, 2014

Source: ChildSup.Ca.gov, "Child Support Handbook," Accessed Aug. 14, 2014

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