Articles Tagged with child support

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Can the government shutdown trigger a child support payment modification? If you are a parent who counts on child support payments to make ends meet, and your former spouse is a furloughed federal employee, can you still anticipate getting child support payment modificationthose essential payments?  On the other hand, if you are the furloughed employee, how can you be expected to send out a check when you are not receiving one yourself? Whichever side of the issue you are on, it is entirely possible that you will feel the impact of the government shutdown. If you are not sure what to expect, a local Santa Rosa family law attorney can help.

Child Support Payment Modification Options

Certainly, both parents in these circumstances have a valid point. Raising a child is expensive, and a parent’s obligation to pay child support is a significant one. When income is significantly altered, as it is during a furlough, there are options. An order requesting a child support payment modification could be one of them.

In order to make such a child support payment modification change, you must fill out a form indicating that there has been a change in circumstances since the previous child support order was made. Typically, such requests for a reduced child support payment are based on one or more of several factors, including:

  • A change in your income;
  • The loss of your job;
  • Your incarceration;
  • You have had another child in another relationship for whom support will be necessary;
  • There has been a significant change in the amount of time you spend with the child;
  • The needs of the child have undergone a dramatic change due to health, education, or other issues.

In the case of a furlough, your change in income is likely temporary. The court would have to consider this as it weighs any changes to the child support order.

Stipulating a Child Support Payment Modification

In some situations, both parents may agree to changes in the child support agreement, and may stipulate to adjustments for the period of the furlough.  In this case, they can simply sign off on the settlement, get the judge’s signature, and it becomes a new order. Parents may come to their own agreement and proceed without the approval of the courts, but one parent could always go after another for back payments unless the judge’s signature sanctions the changes.

Filing a Motion for Child Support Modification

In the event the parents can not agree to changes in the support payments, the parent seeking a change must file a motion requesting a modification in payment requirements. Payment expectations will not change unless and until a judge signs off on any modification requests. (The exception to this is when the payer is imprisoned for at least 90 days and is unable to make payments, at which point payments are suspended automatically). Continue reading →

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child supportChild support. Raising children is expensive. When a couple chooses not to raise their child together, it does not absolve either parent of the financial responsibilities associated with raising that child. From a legal standpoint, some amount of child support is mandatory from both parents, and failing to provide that support could result in civil and/or criminal consequences. If you are concerned about child-support calculations, a good family law attorney may be helpful.

Obtaining Child Support

There are several circumstances wherein a court may order child support. They include:

  • Divorce;
  • Legal separation;
  • Paternity cases.

Income Considered in Child Support Determinations

Net disposable incomes of both parents are examined when making child support determinations.  The mathematical calculation used to determine the amount of support ordered by the court considers any and all income, including:

  • Salary, wages or earnings from self-employment;
  • Commission;
  • Tips;
  • Benefits from unemployment;
  • Workers’ compensation benefits;
  • Disability benefits;
  • Social security benefits;
  • Pension payouts;
  • Interest or dividend payments;
  • Lottery or other winnings.

Once the gross income is determined for each parent, the net disposable income is calculated by subtracting costs such as:

  • Taxes;
  • Mandatory union dues;
  • Health care premiums;
  • Required contributions to retirement accounts;
  • Costs associated with raising children from other relationships.

Other Considerations

The court will consider other factors, including childcare costs, school expenses, health care costs, and costs associated with visitation when parents live far apart. Some of these expenses are considered add-ons and may be divided equally between parents, or contributions may be based on each person’s disposable income. Additionally, children with special needs may incur further expenses to be considered by the court.

Once the final income calculations have been made, a child support payment is calculated based on the percentage of time the child spends with each parent.

Documentation Needed for Child Support

In order to make the most accurate calculations, parents will be asked to provide a number of documents, including:

  • Tax returns for the past year or two;
  • Paystubs from the past few months;
  • Insurance premium documentation;
  • Certification of mandatory retirement contributions;
  • Child support and spousal support information for other relationships;
  • Receipts for child care costs;
  • Other costs related to extraordinary circumstances.
What Happens to Parents Who do Not Pay Child Support?

Payment of child support is a serious business. When child support payments are not made, the consequences can be embarrassing and troublesome. Wages may be garnished, credit ratings may be impacted, and liens may be placed on property. There are additional consequences that many people do not know about: Passports may not be issued or renewed, and driver’s licenses could be revoked or suspended. The IRS could capture past due funds from tax refunds, and other government funds such as unemployment or workers’ compensation may be taken. Ultimately, criminal charges may be filed with associated fines and jail time. Continue reading →

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Child Support EnforcementChild Support Enforcement in California. When a judge officially finalizes your divorce—approving any settlement agreements, issuing orders for child support or spousal support, and legally dissolving your marriage—you may feel a sense of relief that your legal battles are over. Unfortunately, too many parents will find themselves back in court to address issues that arise regarding their agreements. One issue in particular that leads people back into the courtroom is child support enforcement.

Child support orders are based on specific formulas that take into consideration the respective incomes and expenses of both parents, as well as the basic needs of any children in question. For this reason, the majority of child support determinations in California are considered to be fair and to reflect the responsibilities of both parents to financially support their children. However, simply because a court issues an order—and even if that order is fair—does not mean that the parent ordered to pay child support is going to comply with the court order.

Because most parents rely on child support payments to cover the major expenses of raising one or more children, it can have a serious effect on your living standards if the other parent falls behind on payments. For this reason, many parents seek to legally enforce child support orders.

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