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California Child Support Issues by Norman Fernandez

What are a Mother and Fathers Rights in California, When you have a Child and Are Not Married? by Norman Fernandez

Understanding State Child Support Laws and Guidelines by Amerion Abler

Child Support and Private Educational Costs? by Kayla Horacek

California Child Support Issues

The parents of minor children are legally responsible to provide support for their minor children, even if the child is conceived out of wedlock. Children who were born in the course of a marriage, are presumed to be the children of the parties in the marriage. Ordinarily, one parent will be ordered to pay child support to the other parent depending upon many factors. These factors include but are not limited to: (1) who has custody of the minor child or children, and for what percentage of time, (2) each parent's average and current income, and (3) any expenses and hardship deductions.

As you can see, child custody is intimately intertwined with child support. Child support cannot be retroactively ordered by the courts in the state of California. Although each parent has a statutory duty to support their children, one parent can't be forced to pay the other parent child support, unless they have obtained a court order for child support. In other words, if you snooze you lose.

If you're a parent who has primary physical custody of your children, it is very important for you to go to court as soon as possible to obtain child support orders. Without said orders, you and your children are out of luck. In a perfect world, a responsible noncustodial parent would pay child support, however in reality, a court order is usually required to get the other parent to pay.

Once you obtain a child support order from the court, the court will in most cases put a wage garnishment on the parent who is to pay child support so that the money is taken right out of their paycheck. In some cases parents might purposely try to avoid paying child support by quitting their jobs, or working under the table. In California the court can impute wages on to a person who is supposed to be paying child support, if the court finds that they are intentionally not working, or purposely working below their means.

When a person who is supposed to be paying child support falls behind on their child support payments, those child support payments that are behind are called arrearages. The parent who is owed the past-due arrearages can go into the court and request a contempt order, and an order that the parent owing past-due arrearages pay interest and penalties on the amounts due. It should be noted that in the state of California and interest and penalties on past due child support payments can be quite substantial, and in some cases exceed the actual amount of child support.

If you're a parent that owes child support, and your circumstances have changed such that you cannot pay the current amount of child support ordered by the court, you are going to need to go into the court as soon as possible to request a modification of existing child-support orders. If you fall too far behind on your child-support payments, your drivers license can be taken away, professional licenses can be suspended, and you could face potential criminal prosecution by the district attorney. As time goes by, interest and penalties will increase on the amount you owe such that I could take many years for you to pay off the amount owed. It is much more inexpensive to retain an attorney to protect your legal rights, rather than allowing the past two child-support owed to continue to increase.

Whether you want to establish child support, enforce child-support orders, modify existing child-support orders, or need to defend against a child-support action, our law firm can help you. For a free consultation regarding your child-support issue, call our office now at 818-584-8831 extension 1, or visit our family law website by clicking here now.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2007
The Law Offices of Norman Gregory Fernandez & Associates
9909 Topanga Canyon Blvd. Suite 188
Chatsworth, CA 91311
Phone: 818-584-8831 ext. 3
Fax: 818-739-9656
Main Website:
Family Law Website:

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What are a Mother and Fathers Rights in California, When you have a Child and Are Not Married?

In modern times many couples have children when they are not married. Problems can arise with respect to Child Custody, Visitation, and Child Support when these couples break off the relationship.

In a perfect world the mother and the father are amicable in such a situation, and do what is in the child or children’s best interest. However, it is much safer, and highly recommended, that you obtain Court orders with respect to custody, visitation, and support issues, so that the mother and father each know their respective rights and obligations, and so that there are no ambiguities regarding the same.

This article will discuss the issue of children who are born out of wedlock from both the mother and the father’s prospective to give you a general understanding of the law in California regarding children born out of wedlock.

The Mother’s Prospective

The mother of a child that is born out of wedlock has a unique advantage in that she does not normally have to prove that the child is hers. If hospital records indicate that a female has given birth to a child, and the birth certificate that is issued upon the birth of a child indicates that the female gave birth to the child, than there is usually no issue with the mother showing that she is the paternal mother.

The mother of a child born out of wedlock will automatically be entitled to full custody of a child absent a Court order indicating otherwise.

She may give the father visitation if she so chooses, or she can deny visitation to the father absent a Court order.

All minor children in California have a right to receive child support pursuant to a statutory guideline. (The subject of Child Support will be covered in a forthcoming separate article). If the mother of a child who is born out of wedlock wants to obtain child support from the father, she will have to file and serve a Petition to Establish Parentage on the father, and an Order to Show Cause for child support with the appropriate Court.

If the mother is on welfare or Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the District Attorney in the county in which the mother resides will ordinarily aid in this process so that the County gets reimbursed for the aid that is being provided to the mother by the County.

If a father voluntarily accepts paternity, than the Court will decide each party’s rights to custody, visitation, and child support based upon the facts in the case. If the father denies that he is the father, he may request that a DNA test be done to determine whether he is the father. Once this process is completed than the Court will determine each party’s rights.

If a mother is not sure who the real father of a child is, she will have to file a Petition to Establish Parentage on each potential father.

The Court will ordinarily allow the father visitation or custody rights to the child unless it can be shown that it is not in the best interest of the child for the father to have such rights.

The Father’s Prospective

The father of a child born out of wedlock has no rights to Custody, Visitation, or Child Support unless they obtain a Court order for the same.

If a father wants to have rights to custody, visitation, or child support for a child born out of wedlock, he will have to file a Petition to Establish Parentage, and an Order to Show Cause for Custody, Visitation, and/or Support.

The mother of the child may or may not agree that the father is the true father of the child. Either party may request that a DNA test be done to prove whether or not the father is the paternal father of a child.

Once the Court determines paternity, the Court will than look at many factors with respect to rights to Custody, Visitation, and Support.

The Court will ordinarily allow the father visitation or custody rights to the child unless it can be shown that it is not in the best interest of the child for the father to have such rights.

The Mother and Father’s Prospective as a Whole

The Court will always try to determine what is in the children’s best interest when determining who will have Custody and Visitation rights to a child or children. This can be a long and expensive process if litigated. It is recommended that a Mother and Father try to informally work out a Custody and Visitation plan for a child or children, and then get a Court Order which reflects the agreement of the mother and father.

If you cannot informally work it out than the Court will decide the issue for you.

Support of the child or children will be determined by the Court using a statutory formula which is based on both parties income, the percentage of time each person has with the child or children, and other factors.

It is always recommended that you retain a lawyer in these types of cases. Only a fool has herself or himself for a client.

If you are located in Southern or Central California you may call The Law Offices of Norman Gregory Fernandez for a free consultation at 818-584-8831 extension 1, or visit our family law website by clicking here now.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2007
The Law Offices of Norman Gregory Fernandez & Associates
9909 Topanga Canyon Blvd. Suite 188
Chatsworth, CA 91311
Phone: 818-584-8831 ext. 3
Fax: 818-739-9656
Main Website:
Family Law Website:

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Understanding State Child Support Laws and Guidelines by Amerion Abler

Child support is the government’s means of ensuring that children enjoy the financial security that a two-parent home would have afforded them. This is the primary moral concern of child support laws --- that children be well provided for --- and it is based on the principle of responsibility.

The existence of children is caused by impregnation, wherein two parties, male and female, are involved. Child support laws exist on the premise that the cause is responsible for the effect, which determines who will be responsible for ensuring that children enjoy the financial security of a two-parent home: namely, the biological mother and father.

An Introduction to Child Support Law and Guidelines

Because the moral basis for child support laws are so self-evident, they have not suffered questioning or debate; and, as a result, it has been possible for the state to formulate a standard equation (called a guideline) that, in all cases, determines who will pay child support and how much that child support will be. Simply, it balances the difference of each parent’s income against the difference in time that the children spend with each parent, while accounting for the number of children involved. (See the link at the end of this article for a child support calculator.)

Moral Basis of Child Support Laws:

  • Children should enjoy the financial security that a two-parent home would have afforded them.

  • A cause is responsible for its effect. In this case, biological parents are the cause that effects a child.

While the primary function of child support laws is to ensure that children are provided for, the principle of responsibility ensures that neither of the responsible parties is taken advantage of in the process, and the equation reflects this.

The Intended Fairness of Child Support Decisions

Because child support rulings have become so standardized as to follow a set equation, the litigation process is mostly concerned with defining the variables of income and time spent in custody of children. While these two factors seem straightforward, they are not. Establishing either of these in court is a matter of some expertise. And should either of these factors be misrepresented, the monthly amount due in child support will vary greatly, most likely to one’s long-term disadvantage; or, if misrepresented in one’s favor, whether intentionally or not, could be grounds for a charge of perjury. (Also, there is the issue of paternity and maternity, but science makes this a simple matter of DNA analysis.)

The fairness of a child support decision depends on the full and accurate representation of one’s financial circumstances and custody allotment at the time of the decision. Provided that these two factors have been accurately represented, the guideline will yield a fair decision for all parties. But, should anyone’s financial circumstances change or should the time that the children spend with each parent change, the ruling that was previously fair and balanced will have become unbalanced and unfair. Therefore, it is important that child support orders be updated when circumstances change.

Exceptions to a State’s Child Support Guidelines

There are exceptions to the use of the state’s guideline or standard formula. If both parents agree to a non-guideline amount, and if the judge agrees that the amount is in the interest of the children involved, this amount can serve as the court’s ruling, in place of the default or guideline amount.

Possible Rulings in a Child Support Case:

  • Guideline Ruling: with the assistance of their attorneys, both parties establish their income and custody allotment. The judge then plugs these factors into a state formula called a guideline, yielding the child support amount.

  • Non-Guideline Ruling: though both parties have been informed what the guideline ruling would have been, they agree to an alternative amount. The judge decides whether or not this amount is in the interest of the child/children, and, if it is, this becomes the child support amount.
What To Do When Parental Support or Circumstances Change

If you should be receiving child support and are not, or if you are receiving child support but either your or your former spouse’s financial or custodial circumstances have changed since the ruling, consider the following courses of action.

Anyone receiving public assistance may contact his/her local Child Support Services center in order to open or reopen a child support case. Otherwise, one has the option of representing oneself in court or hiring a family law attorney.

While one is entitled to represent one’s self in court, this is never advisable. The law and its procedures are highly complex, with many nuances, and ignorance of the law is never acknowledged. The judge will proceed as if you know the law completely, and every statement you make or don’t make will hold you accountable as if you had a license to practice law.

Possible Courses of Action:

  • Contact Local CSS: if you are receiving public assistance, the local Child Support Services will handle your child support case, as well as the enforcement of a prior case.
  • Hire an Attorney: if you are not receiving public assistance, this option is strongly advised, in order to ensure that you are, in all respects, properly represented and receive a fair ruling.
  • Represent One’s Self: this option bypasses the fees involved with hiring an attorney, but misrepresentation due to ignorance of the law could result in far greater financial consequences in the form of a higher child support amount, or even charges of perjury.
In Conclusion...

The law has concluded that it takes a male and a female to conceive a child. Therefore, the law recognizes that both parties conducted their affairs in such a way as to bring a child into the world, so both parties have a responsibility to the child to provide parental care and support. Both parents remain legally responsible for the care of their children until the child is 18 years of age, or until all children have passed their 18th birthday.

But, in the course of a child’s upbringing, the financial circumstances of one or both parents might change. Job promotion or loss could significantly affect a parent’s income status in such a way as to nullify the fairness of the original child support judgment. Either party has the right to request their child support case to be reevaluated by a judge, taking into account the current financial condition of the parties involved.

If you are concerned about the validity of your case, please consult an attorney for advice.

Article Source:

Written by Amerion Abler. If you need a California family law attorney, contact the Law Offices of Dishon & Block, APC at 877-347-7658 or If financial changes have created hardships for one parent, then ask the courts to modify or lower child support payments.

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Child Support and Private Educational Costs by Kayla Horacek

In today's world, parents often begin planning for a child's education far in advance.  Most Los Angeles County residents are not satisfied with their neighborhood public school.  Instead, they search for designer private schools in order to provide their children with the best possible educational foundation money can buy.  If their children are lucky enough to be accepted into these prestigious programs, parents are then faced with the staggering tuition costs associated with these institutions.

This focus on education does not dissipate simply because a marriage ends.  The need for a quality education remains a priority.  Unfortunately, the costs of divorce and the death of the community income may cause some parents to question the practicality of exorbitant tuition costs.

In families where one party generates the majority of the income, this analysis becomes even more complicated.  If you are the high earner, does California law require you to cover some of (or all of) the costs of private school tuition?  If you are the low earner or non-earner, does California law allow you to rely on the other party's higher income to support the costs of private school tuition?

And even in situations where each party's income is relatively similar, does California law impose some kind of equal division of such costs?

Private education as a discretionary "add-on"

The California Family Code sets forth a mandatory formula for child support that theoretically takes into account each parent's "circumstances and station in life" and "ability to pay" child support.  This formula, however, does not include "special" and unique child-care expenses a particular family may encounter.  In order to provide for these additional expenses, the Family Code has created two types of child support "add-ons"--one entitled "mandatory" and one entitled "discretionary."

Educational costs for a child are deemed discretionary rather than mandatory.  This means that a particular judge has the discretion, or the freedom of choice, to determine whether or not she considers the proposed cost to be appropriate as an additional expense to a parent. This requires a party's counsel to make a convincing argument that the private school tuition should, or should not, be paid.

A legal argument for or against such an add-on should address several issues, including, but not limited to, the following:
1. Specific Needs of the Child: Does the child have a special physical or mental disability that is most appropriately addressed at a private institution?  If a child has documented and undisputed special needs, a court is very likely to order that they be met.
2. Length of Attendance: How long has the child been attending the school? A court is more likely to order that private school tuition continue if the child has been there for several years and is at a critical stage of development in which removal from the school would be against his or her best interests.
3. Alternatives: Where would the child attend school if he or she did not attend the private institution?  What is the reputation of the local public school?  Is the neighborhood in which the public school is located safe?
4. Ability to Pay: What is the financial situation of the parties?  Can each parent, or one high-earning parent, pay the tuition and still continue to pay for mandated child support and other expenses he or she may have?  This factor must always be taken into consideration, regardless of how compelling any other factors may seem.  This is because, as a practical matter, many families cannot afford to maintain the lifestyle they lived during the marriage.  As a result, nonessential expenses, like private education, must be eliminated.

Allocation of private educational costs

If your counsel is successful in persuading the court to order an add-on for private educational expenses, then the court must also determine how that add-on will be allocated between the parents.  If no specific allocation is requested in one's moving papers to the court, the tuition will likely be divided "one-half to each parent."  If you believe an alternative allocation is merited, documentation should be presented to corroborate such a belief.    One common alternative to the equal division of such add-on expenses is an allocation corresponding to each party's respective income.  In this calculation, the court looks to the net disposable incomes of each party, after they are adjusted by counsel to include any spousal support and mandated child support that has already been ordered paid.  The court then examines these adjusted incomes, and determines what portion of the add-on would be appropriate for the higher earner to provide.  One must exercise caution in advocating this alternative allocation to the court, since a judge may order the standard equal allocation of the add-on if the adjusted net disposable incomes of the parties fail to show a true disparity between the two incomes.

Copyright (c) 2007 Law Offices of Donald P. Schweitzer

Kayla Horacek
c/o Law Offices of Donald P. Schweitzer
201 South Lake Avenue
Suite 700
Pasadena, California, 91101

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