Once you made the decision to file for divorce in California, you probably spent the next days and weeks considering how your decision may emotionally impact your children. Many parents who divorce face serious challenges regarding child custody issues, visitation and other parenting-related matters. While developing your new parenting plan, you may not realize that even your child’s birthday can affect the court’s decisions in your divorce.
State law typically holds you legally responsible for your children until they turn 18 and graduate high school. Certain exceptions often apply, such as if your son or daughter joins the military, gets married or suffers an untimely death. Generally speaking, however, you’re obligated to provide financial and physical support to fulfill your child’s basic needs until he or she reaches age 19 or an exception to the rule exists.
What does this have to do with your divorce?
Maintaining financial stability in divorce may be an important issue in your particular situation. You’re likely very concerned about providing for your kids, especially if you gave up a career to stay home and raise them during marriage. Knowing that it often takes time to secure reliable, regular income, you may submit a request for child support, in which case, the following guidelines generally apply in this state:
- When the court orders a parent to pay child support, payments usually continue until the child turns 19, unless the court grants modification of an existing child support order to remove the obligation for some reason.
- The court typically considers income levels for both parents before ruling on child support issues.
- Physical time spent with a child can impact child support obligations. The court may mandate higher child support amounts the less time the paying parent spends with the child.
- The court also typically pays close attention to food, clothing, shelter, unpaid medical expenses, education and extracurricular activity costs when determining child support needs.
This information is good to know, especially if you divorce just shy of your child’s 19th birthday. State laws vary when it comes to common parenting issues in divorce, such as physical and legal custody, financial support, visitation and other family matters. It’s understandable you want to protect your rights and make sure the court clearly understands your immediate and potential future financial needs, as well as any parent/child relationship goals that pertain to your situation.
Divorce tends to evoke highly charged emotions on both sides. Whether you’re the parent of an infant, toddler, pre-teen or near-adult child, you can seek intervention if obtaining amicable solutions to your child-related problems seems out of reach. An experienced family law attorney can negotiate on your behalf and aggressively litigate any unresolved issue in court.