If parents are no longer together in California, whether divorced or never married at all, there is usually a child support order in place. Both parents should be responsible for the financial needs of their children and provide for them whether they live together or not. Child support helps ensure that this occurs.
The amount of child support a parent may pay depends on different factors, but the main one is how much each parent earns. Based the parents’ respective incomes and the amount of parenting time each parent has with the children, there is a formula that courts use to determine the presumed child support obligation.
Extra expense included in child support orders
This is the basic child support obligation. There are additional expenses that parents incur on behalf of their children each month. One parent will generally be ordered to carry health insurance for the children and the parents will need to split the cost of those monthly premiums. The parents will also need to split any uninsured medical costs such as co-pays or costs that insurance does not cover.
Parents may also have childcare costs that they incur because they need to work or go to school, which the parents will split as well. Judges also may order additional child support if a child has special educational needs. If a parent incurs extraordinary costs related to travel for visitation, that can factor into a child support order as well.
Basic child support orders in California are based on formulas as stated in the California statutes and are presumed by law. However, those formulas only cover the basic costs for children. As parents know, there are more costs than just the basic ones and judges can include those extra costs in child support orders as well. Depending on the circumstances, child support orders can be complicated and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.