Legal Help For Child Support & Child Support Modifications

Like most states in the USA, child support in California is based on a set of guidelines, and a mathematical formula is used to calculate the amount of child support due from a parent. These guidelines take into consideration not only the incomes of each parent but also the percentage of time each parent spends with the child or children.

An experienced San Diego child support lawyer from our firm can provide answers to the questions you may have about child support. With our combined 80 plus years of experience as family law attorneys, we represent clients in establishing initial child support and in cases where there is a need to modify an existing support order.

We represent non-married parents as well as those going through a divorce. Regardless of the relationship between the parents, both are considered responsible for the financial needs of their children based on their respective incomes or ability to earn.

When it comes to hiring a San Diego child support lawyer, experience is an important factor to consider.  An experienced San Diego child support lawyer has the knowledge to evaluate what factors are important to the child support calculation and how to determine the actual income or earning ability of a parent.  

Determining Child Support

To determine guideline child support, we need information about the income of both parties. We will also need information on the amount of time each parent will be responsible for the child, often referred to as “as parenting time,” as well as information about tax filing status, health insurance costs, and other allowed costs that can be considered when applying the guideline formula.

Other factors our San Diego child support lawyers will need to know include:

  • Number of children of this relationship
  • Number or children from other relationships for whom a parent is paying support
  • Health insurance costs
  • Home mortgage interest and property tax payments
  • Any mandatory deductions from a parent’s wages or salary
  • Any necessary job-related expenses

A San Diego child support attorney is certainly required for high income, high asset divorces or when one or both parents are self-employed.   Issues such as commissions and bonuses can pose a challenge because they are not always a standard or predictable amount.   Also, in cases where a parent has a very high income, the usual guidelines for child support may not apply.

For self-employed individuals, expenses and deductions from reported gross income can be problematic and an area of dispute.  As San Diego child support attorneys we have the experience and the expertise to evaluate a self-employed spouse’s income and business expenses and, if necessary, work with a qualified forensic accountant to determine the amount of income that is actually available for support.

Child Support Modifications

An existing child support order can be modified when certain circumstances change for one or both parents. The most common reasons a San Diego child support lawyer is asked to file a request for modification of child support are:

  • Loss of a job by either parent
  • Significant changes, either up or down, in the income of either the parent paying child support or the parent who is receiving support
  • The parent paying support has a significant increase or decrease in his or her parenting time with the child or children
  • Financial problems for a parent that may be the result of injury or illness

Talking to one of our San Diego child support lawyers as soon as a change occurs is critical.  The court cannot make a modification of child support to a date earlier than the date a parent has filed the motion to request a change in support.  Keep in mind that any agreements made by the parents for a change in a support order may not be enforceable unless those agreements were put in a writing signed by both parties and then incorporated in a court order.

Child support and child support modifications can be complicated and a source of high conflict. Call us at 858-452-2898 to arrange for a meeting with one of our experienced family law attorneys to determine whether your child support amount should be raised or lowered due to your current circumstances.

Department of Child Support Services (“DCSS”)

Under California law a parent may request the assistance of the Department of Child Support Services, also known as DCSS.  Some of the remedies available include obtaining and/or enforcing child support orders, modifying orders due to changes in income or parenting timeshare and enforcing orders for or against parents who live outside of California.

The Department of Child Support Services has the authority to garnish wages (“wage assignments”), order health insurance coverage, to suspend driver’s licenses for failure to pay child support, deny passports, intercept income tax refunds, revoke professional licenses and other enforcement actions.

This governmental agency exists to help parents resolve disputes involving child support and child support related issues.  Often a parent needs the assistance of an experienced San Diego Family Law lawyer to navigate through this complex process, help minimize delays and be an advocate for their best interests as well as the best interests of their children.  All of the attorneys at BBDS are experienced in navigating the complex DCSS process.