Stockton and Manteca Family Law Attorneys Fight for Fair Child Support
Determined advocates drive settlements and help enforce court orders
California has enacted guidelines for child support based on parental income, the number of children and other factors. However, judges still have some discretion and the amount can vary greatly depending on the figures entered into the guideline calculator. At San Joaquin Family Law, we understand you want what’s best for your children if it is within your means to provide it. We’re committed to doing all we can to negotiate or litigate a fair resolution to your child support issues.
Guidelines can only work if both parties fully disclose their financial assets
Under California law, children have a right to support from both parents until they reach the age of 18. Parents who have primary child custody are entitled to assistance from the noncustodial parent. However, any calculation of support depends on the full, honest disclosure of both parents’ income. Our family law attorneys know that judges can only arrive at a fair calculation if truthful data is entered. We work diligently to ensure that neither parent is hiding unreported income or deliberately reducing income to escape a child support assessment.
Negotiating agreements on private education, enrichment and special needs
Every child is different, so naturally the guidelines for child support are limited in their application. Judges are often asked to decide matters beyond the feeding and sheltering of children that incur additional expenses:
- Private school tuition — If a child has begun studies at a private school, the court is more likely to order a continuation of payment for that tuition.
- Enrichment activities — Expenses like music lessons, athletic travel teams and summer camps come under greater scrutiny in a divorce. Though the court favors stability in a child’s life, it also recognizes that a divorce can cause significant belt-tightening.
- Special needs — Parents often disagree about where to draw the line between necessary and excessive care. Judges are usually guided by the accepted standard of care for a child’s conditions.
The court takes into consideration the parents’ ability to pay, and whether a parent would have made these expenditures if not for the divorce. However, courts are unpredictable; often the best option for the parents is to negotiate a settlement agreement for expenditures above and beyond standard child support.
Enforcement of child support through the Department of Child Support Services
Historically, unpaid child support has been a problem throughout the country. To address this issue, California created the Department of Child Support Services. DCSS assists recipient parents with transferring funds on a regular schedule and enforcing payments when they are late.
Contact a fully committed family law firm serving Stockton and Manteca
California has tried to standardize child support, but much is still up to the discretion of the judge. To help ensure that you obtain a fair child support order, you need a determined advocate on your side. To schedule a free initial consultation, call San Joaquin Family Law at 209.478.2700 or contact our office online.