Huntington Beach Child Support Attorney
Getting the Financial Support Your Child
One of the most complicated topics surrounding a divorce between two people in Huntington Beach, CA is making decisions about the children. In many cases, the parents have lost the initial love and affection they had for each other, but both still deeply love and want to care for their children. It can be a challenging prospect for either parent to understand that they may now have to split the amount of time they have with their children. The parent who is making significantly more money will likely be required to pay some form of child support. This is intended to ensure that life for both the kids and their ex-spouse is disrupted as little as possible with the extra help of a monthly monetary payment. If you are starting the divorce process, and need help determining child support, in addition to all other items that need to be sorted out, it’s time to contact a child custody attorney.
What Does Child Support Help With?
The reason why child support is often required post-divorce is because it protects the livelihood of the children. There are a ton of very vulnerable aspects of their lives that the court will try to support with the formalization of these payments. Some key areas that child support helps with include:
- Basic Necessities: Child support is not intended to provide a kid with extra video games or other non-essential items. One of the first things it should be applied to are the basic items each child needs to live, such as food, clothing, and shelter. This often takes up a huge sum of the monthly payments, which is appropriate.
- Medical Care: How much a parent will have to spend on medical care for their child is completely unexpected. Kids can catch an illness at any point, and parents will need to be prepared to give them access to medical care when the time comes. These payments can help offset the remainder of any healthcare bills that insurance does not cover.
- Educational Expenses: If your child is in public school, there is no monthly charge for their attendance. However, fees do arise from time to time. This could include an educational field trip, a uniform for any sport or club they have joined, or even a book they need for a class. It’s important that a child is not restricted from advancing their education due to the inability of a parent to pay for these items.
- Childcare: When both parents have jobs that overlap in schedule, they will likely need a third party’s help to watch the children when they are at work. Babysitters or daycare facilities can be expensive. However, this cost can be reduced with child support payments.
- Transportation: Anyone with kids knows how much they need to be driven to school, practice, and other activities. This can take a toll on one’s vehicle. Sometimes, child support funds will be used to pay for essential transportation costs like gasoline, car insurance, or even public transportation fees if needed.
- Future College Expenses: This area will be up to the discretion of both parents and can be discussed together during the divorce process. They may agree to set aside a portion of the monthly child support payments to help save up for college when their kids are of age. This can be a highly advantageous arrangement to better support your kids in the long term.
While these categories cover the bulk of what child support payments typically go toward, there is still room for them to be used on other items. As long as the monthly funds are helping the children cope with the divorce and continue in their lives with minimal disruption, the court will likely be in favor of how the funds are being spent.
How Is Child Support Calculated in Huntington Beach?
The state of California has its own guidelines to formally assess child support payments to appropriately fund the new structure of the family unit without overstressing either parent.
Common items considered to determine the payment amount include:
- Income of Both Parents: A court will look into the specific wages each parent earns, including any bonuses, pensions, or extra side income they are earning. If one parent has already remarried, their new household income will also be considered. This is intended to create balance and ensure that neither spouse nor their children will have to sacrifice essential aspects of the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to.
- Number of Children: The more children that a couple has together, the higher the monthly child support payments will be. Each child needs to be supported individually, and the court will make that clear when determining how much money the higher-earning parent will have to pay after divorce.
- Custody Arrangement: There are some considerations as to how much time the child will spend with each parent in the post-divorce arrangement. If one parent gets sole custody, then it will fall on the parent who only has visitation rights (or potentially no rights) to keep up with payments. In joint custody scenarios, where a child’s time will be split between both parents, the court will revisit both of their incomes to make the determination.
- Child’s Expenses: Some unique expenses can drive up the total amount of a child support payment compared to other children. For example, if a child has a unique medical condition that requires frequent hospital visits or expensive medication, it will be reflected in the child support payment. Another example would be if a child is struggling in school and needs to pay for a dedicated tutor or transfer to a private school for a more tailored education.
- Standard of Living: This is the metric that a court will prioritize when assessing an overall child support and alimony package. They will try to avoid any scenario where a child who grew up used to living in a middle-class household will now have to face varying levels of poverty. Assessing the new cost of living for each parent after divorce, and how that will impact the well-being of the kids, will be the primary factor in a court’s decision.
These are some of the most expected areas to influence how much a child support payment will be. To get an even stronger understanding of what to expect, hire a child support lawyer to help navigate your expectations and influence the outcome you desire and think is appropriate for your new family arrangement.
What Qualities Make a Strong Orange County Child Support and Divorce Attorney?
A case is only as strong as the attorney who is there to support the process. There are many reasons why you will want a legal advocate to help you. Some of the most compelling include:
- Advanced Knowledge and Experience: The number one reason why people hire an attorney is because they do not have a degree in law or any experience dealing with the court system. Being able to pay for immediate access to this type of support is invaluable. From the lessons learned that can be applied from past cases to their ability to interpret the law, the outcome you receive could be drastically different from what would have happened without representation.
- Strong Communication Skills: Attorneys are skilled in the art of communication, and that likely includes the family lawyer that your spouse has hired as well. They will try to skillfully sway the court in their favor by presenting their own set of facts and opinions. Your attorney should have the same set of communication skills to combat any items that are being misrepresented or purposefully omitted.
- Problem-Solving: There are a ton of different conflicts that will come up either before or during a court proceeding. There may be a dispute over how a piece of property is divided, or one parent who is receiving child support payments may believe that it is not enough to appropriately cover all necessary expenses. You will need an attorney who is able to understand the incentives that can motivate each parent to be open to negotiation and strike a creative balance between what they originally wanted and what is realistic.
- Attention to Detail: The paperwork alone makes having an attorney with a sharp eye for detail an essential resource to have during a divorce. Any missed deadline, signature, or entire document could dramatically delay how fast you and your ex-spouse can reach an agreement and move on. When interviewing your attorney and assessing their qualifications, be sure to ask questions about how they stay on top of details to get a sense of what value they would bring to your own child support case.
Contact the Law Offices of Lisa R. McCall Today
If you are getting ready to face the prospect of divorce, and need a qualified attorney on your side, connect with a family law attorney at the Law Offices of Lisa R. McCall today. We have helped many families move forward into their new era of life with the financial support they need to thrive. We look forward to learning more about your family and how we can help.