The primary concern of any parent should be the welfare of his or her child or children. This should hold true even during or after a divorce. Unfortunately, this may be a time when one parent loses sight of that guiding principal in an effort to alter the outcome of a child support payment decision.
How is child support calculated?
Many so-called support calculators are available on the internet, but these only provide an estimate based on inputted information. If parents cannot work out an agreement outside of a courtroom, it will be up to a judge to decide an amount. This amount will be based on numerous factors including:
- Number of children requiring support
- Income earned by each parent
- Potential income of each parent
- Other income sources
- Time spent with the child(ren)
As you can see, some of these parameters may be vague and subject to interpretation. A spouse could substantially benefit by coming court prepared with supporting documents.
Making alterations to child support
There are circumstances in which an adjustment to the court-ordered amount may be requested. The simplest may be when the paying parent adjusts his or her time spent with the child. Typically, as time spent increases, support paid decreases.
While spending more time with a child is generally a desirable outcome, some unscrupulous parents may seek to increase their visitation time merely to decrease their payments. Any parent with primary physical custody of a child may wish to be mindful of such a tactic
Changes in income are another factor parents should be aware of to ensure a fair amount is being paid. A change in income of either parent can be a catalyst for adjusting child support. An increase in income on the part of the payer can merit an increase in payments. (Although in exceptional circumstances, a parent’s income may be too large to be considered in full to avoid unnecessarily large figures.) Likewise, a decrease in the payee’s income could also warrant an increase in support.
An alteration does not happen automatically. In order for an alteration to be considered, either party must file for the change. The usual payment amount is expected to continue until the adjustment is ordered.
Living life with children after a divorce
At its heart, California child support law is meant to allow children to continue to enjoy the same lifestyle they had when their parents were together. Divorce can be hard on children; guaranteed support can soften the blow by reducing unsettling change.
Arriving at terms and maintaining them is an ongoing process for both the support payer and the recipient parent. At every stage of the process, it can be helpful to consult with a caring and experienced family law attorney. Support and guidance from a dedicated professional may help a parent to avoid headaches and heartaches in court.