Orange County Divorce Attorney, Peter H. Wernicke
California Orange County Divorce Lawyer, Attorney at Law  
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Child Support

Peter H. Wernicke, Orange County Child Support Attorney
Child support is only intended for the benefit of your children.

Child support is intended to help cover the cost of raising your children after you are divorced.  One spouse makes payments to the other spouse to care for your children's living, education, and other such needs.  Child support payments are intended to benefit your children only; it is not another form of alimony or spousal support.

Who Pays?

Usually in a primary custody situation, the non-custodial parent pays a fixed amount to the custodial parent to supplement the cost of raising the children.   If both parents have equal joint physical custody, it is possible that no child support order will be made, as both parents are providing for the day-to-day care of their children half of the time and earning similar amounts of income. 

How Child Support Payments are Determined

The Court considers the amount of time the children spend with each parent, as well as the gross amount of money (before taxes are deducted) each parent makes.  The law is written to make child support calculations based on net income; however, the courts in the State of California use a computer program that makes the calculations based on your gross income.  The program first converts your gross income into net income, and then performs the calculation.  Gross income is simply the total of all of your income from work, investments, etc.  Net income is your gross income minus all of your tax payments, health care payments, and a few other necessary expenses.

In a nutshell, if there is only one child, the Courts expect each parent to pay 25% of their net income to child support.  Having two children raises the bar to approximately 45% of each parent's net income.  These percentages are then adjusted to calculate in the amount of time the children spend with each parent, as well as other significant factors.  Some examples of significant factors that may adjust child support payments are:

One parent has a substantially larger income than the other.
Your children require special health or educational caring.
A large amount of debt was created by one spouse during the marriage.

You can get an exact calculation of the child support payments you will be making or receiving by scheduling an appointment.  Simply call (714) 558-8841.

How Child Support Payments are Made

Today, the Court usually orders a "wage assignment," or automatic wage deduction, to facilitate the child support payments.  This means the ex-spouse who is required to pay child support will have the child support payments automatically deducted out of every pay check they receive from their employer; the deductions are then sent directly to the other spouse.  This is not necessarily meant as a form of punishment for ex-spouses who do not pay.  In fact, it is usually easier to manage child support payments when they are automatically withheld.

If the ex-spouse who is required to pay is self-employed, payments can be made by check/cashier's check.  It is possible for the Courts to order the ex-spouse to post a secure bond for ensured payment. 

The bottom line is that the Courts put your children's needs before your own.  This means that child support payments take precedence over spousal support payments, and is also the justification for payments being automatically withheld from one's paycheck.

Child support is required until your children reach legal age; in California until age 18, or until graduation from high school, and in no event longer than age 19.

There is no law which orders payment of child support for college or other training after age 19.  This would be voluntary and is another excellent reason to have an amicable dissolution to reach an agreement about these expenses. 

The Effects of Child Support Payments on Your Taxes

In a nutshell, child support payments are not tax deductible for the spouse making the payments.  Accordingly, the receiving spouse does not have to claim received child support payments as income.  Usually, the custodial parent will claim the children as dependants on their tax return unless a different plan was negotiated by you, your ex-spouse, and the Courts.


Table of Contents
Section 0) Overview: Handling a Divorce Section 5) Spousal Support  
Section 1) What You Should Know First Section 6) Child Custody  
Section 2) Starting Your Divorce Section 7) Child Support  
Section 3) Domestic Violence Section 8) Updating Your Will  
Section 4) Division of Property Section 9) Make An Appointment  

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Still have questions? Call: (714) 558-8841