Parents are often faced with the issue of child support during divorce proceedings or upon termination of relationships that never contemplated marriage. The support order may be part of an interim, temporary, permanent, or modified court order in a divorce, paternity action, child custody action, or separate child support action. The California courts are responsible for determining the amount of support a parent must provide. The financial obligation to support a child is independent of parental rights. Therefore, even if a parent has no right to custody or visitation, there may still be an obligation to provide financial support.
In California, child support is governed by statutory law, and courts will use guidelines that are based on monthly net income. However, in situations in which the determination of child support may not fit the formula, such as in cases of joint physical custody, shared custody, or split custody, the courts can disregard the income guidelines and have more freedom in determining an award that best fits the particular circumstances.
Throughout the process, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help you to avoid common pitfalls and to protect your financial interests and the best interests of your children.