How can I get the other parent to pay child support?

Each parent has an obligation to support his/her minor child. The parties may not by agreement to divest the court of jurisdiction to order child support.


Before parents can address the issue of child support, there must be an underlying action filed in a Family Court. If the parents are married, either the mother or the father must first file an action requesting a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or nullity. If the parents are unmarried, either the mother or the father must file an action to establish the parental relationship. Once the paternal relationship is established, child support can be ordered. There is no legal obligation to pay child support from one parent to the other until there is a court order. A court order is obtained by requesting a hearing.


How is support being calculated?

The court uses a statewide uniform guideline for making child support awards.

The statewide guidline provides a formula for a tentative child support amount in each case. That amount depends on (1) the parents’ respective net disposable incomes, which is being calculated by placing gross income into a DissoMaster program; (2) the number of children for whom the support is being determined; (3) the parent’s respective periods of primary physical responsibility for children.

Under a state guidline, gross income includes income from any and all the sources, except for the income derived from (1) child support payments actually received; (2) any public assistance program for which eligibility is based on need.



Is the income of the new spouse considered in calculating child support?

The income of a partner or a new spouse of the parent is not considered in setting child support.


What income will the court consider if I am currently unemployed?

The court will consider unemployment income and may consider minimum wage or the earning capacity of the parent instead of the actual income.


What is the duration of child support?

Child support must be paid until the child becomes 18, unless the child has not graduated from high school, in which case child support continues until the child has graduated from high school or becomes 19, whichever occurs first. The parents can also agree for the support to continue beyond the age of 19.


How will child support be paid?

Usually the support is being ordered to be paid in two installments, on the 1st and the 15th of the month. If the supporting parent is not self-employed and if there is no agreement to the contrary, the support could be ordered to be paid by wage assignment.


Do I still have to pay support if the other parent does not let me see the child?

Yes, you still have to pay support if it was court ordered. You remedy for enforcing the court order regarding visitation is going back to court and filing an “order to show cause” to enforce the existing visitation court order.


Can I have the other parent to pay full tuition or at least the majority of preschool fees?

As per Family Code in California, parents pay 50/50 for uncovered medical costs and day care costs. You can agree on anything with the other parent of your child, but the court is unlikely to order him/her to pay more than 50% of these costs.


If my ex-spouse and I have 50/50 custody and 2 kids, do we each declare one of them as a dependent?

If there is a child support order it should state who claims the children. You and your ex – spouse may also agree who will claim the children on the tax returns.



If there is already a child support order, can my ex-spouse go back to court to change it?


Yes, if the child is eligible to receive support. The Court reserves jurisdiction over child support, until the child is no longer eligible for it. Thus any parent can file a request to modify child support if there is a change in income of either party and/or change in custodial time. Both parents have the right to ask for the other parent’s financial information.