Child support programs and enforcement in California
Child support has an important role in the life of children who live in California. It can help cover the child’s living expenses, basic necessities, health care and other financial needs. However, there are certain instances where the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support. This is the right time for authorities to step in and help. California has a child support program to help collect payments from child support obligors. The program also assists parents in establishing paternity and enforces child support orders, helping many families and children obtain what they need.
There are different steps one must undertake before collecting child support. First, the legal status of the child toward the parents should be established. If the child was born out of wedlock, the father should establish paternity through a blood test or DNA testing. Second, it is important to establish the parental obligation in accordance with state guidelines. The state of California uses the “Statewide Uniform Guideline Formula.” Under this formula, factors like the number of children, the income of both parents and the custodial rights of each parent are used to help determine the proper obligation.
With regard to the income of both parents, California follows a guideline formula that uses the parents’ average income, mandatory union dues (if any) and retirement contributions that can be deducted for the child and spousal support payments. The court may also permit deductions for job-related expenses, extraordinary health expenses, catastrophic losses and minimum basic living expenses of each parent. High medical costs, seasonal or fluctuating income and child care costs are also being considered.
When it comes to timeshare, the child support payment of a non-custodial parent may be lowered if that parent is spending more time taking care of the child. Due to the fact that spending time with the child is also considered support, parent’s financial contribution can also be decreased under this factor.
Child support is important in many family situations. Parents should understand their legal rights and obligations under California’s child support laws.
Source: Office of Child Support Enforcement, “How to Get Child Support,” Accessed July 28, 2014