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Fatula
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Divorce issues: Understanding the child support system

After a marriage has ended, some California residents may receive child support payments as part of a settlement. Family specialists acknowledge that there is a good deal of misunderstanding about the process. August was Child Support Aware Month, and some experts hope to clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding it since many ex-spouses either receive it or must pay it as part of divorce proceedings.

Some individuals believe child support payments are not required if the ex-spouse is unemployed. However, a calculation will be made based on a person's expected income, even if it is minimum wage. Also, while failure to pay child support can mean jail time for someone, it is not likely.

Caseworkers are insistent that they do not receive bonuses if child support payments are made. Some contend that paternity cannot be proven if it was not done at the birth. The reality is that genetic testing can be done at any time for no cost to determine paternity.

Workers in the system are often thought to be solely focused on making sure child support payments are made. However, many of them truly want to help families rebuild and succeed after a divorce. Finally, some ex-spouses assume that once a court has determined the amount of child support payments to be made, it can't be changed. Caseworkers can, in fact, work with parents if significant life events have occurred, like loss of job or change in custody.

Going through a divorce can be a stressful experience, especially when children are involved. A California divorce attorney can help someone navigate the potentially complicated process to ensure that the children's best interests are considered. If someone should receive child support payments, a knowledgeable lawyer will work to maximize the amount. Those who pay child support would benefit from the expertise of a divorce lawyer that will work to ensure a fair settlement to a client.

Source: chicoer.com, "Six misconceptions about child support", Risa Johnson, Aug. 28, 2017

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