How Can I Get Child Support in California?

At The Grey Legal Group, we try to highlight coparenting every month in our Blogs. Wherever possible, having more than one parent raise a child is an important thing. Raising a child means more than just taking them to school every day. It also means financially providing for them until they are able to provide for themselves.

In California, both parents have a fiduciary responsibility to their child. For divorced or separated parents, this is where child support enters the picture. Child support can be ordered by a state court, dictating that the parent with the higher income make monthly payments to the parent with the lower income to be used on taking care of their child. Here is how the child support process works in California:

Step One: Open a Case

Simply enough, getting a Child Support Order begins with opening a Child Support Case. Most parents will have this happen during their divorce process, but that is not always the case. Either parent or legal guardian can open a Child Support Case at any time. Make sure that you work with an experienced Family Law attorney to correctly handle the application process in your county.

Step Two: Summons and Complaint

When one parent opens a Child Support Case, the other parent will be given a Summons and Complaint letting them know that they are included in the case. The parent has thirty days to respond before a Judge will make an Order without taking their side into consideration. At this point, the other parent should also seek the help of an experienced Family Law attorney. If the other parent needs to be located, the state will work to do that. If the other parent has concerns about the parentage, the state can order a DNA test.

Step Three: Receive the Support Order

The final step is to have the actual Child Support Order filed! If both parents are willing to work together and negotiate the outcome, there may be an opportunity to file without ever going to court. If you do go to court, a Judge will have the final say on what the Child Support Order says. After the order has been filed, payments should begin shortly.

Enforcing the Support Order

If the paying parent is employed, Federal law dictates that their employer will make the payments by withholding the funds from their paycheck. If the paying parent is self-employed or does not receive a paycheck, there are many payment options available. If an issue arises where the paying parent is missing payments, the state can suspend their Driver’s License, put a liens on their bank account, or claim their tax refund. If the paying parent has faced a major life circumstance shift and is unable to make payments, it is possible to have the Child Support Order modified.

Where To Get Started

Whether you are going through a divorce and need Child Support, trying to find your child’s other parent in order to receive payments, dealing with your coparent not following the Child Support Order, or unable to make payments and looking for a modification, we can help. At The Grey Legal Group, we know that the law is not always black and white. To get the help you need, contact us today!

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The Grey Legal Group

At The Grey Legal Group, we believe in helping all families with their legal needs so they can be protected on your journey back to a calmer, happier place of stability. Whether it is divorce, child custody, guardianship, domestic violence, or adoption, we have seen it all before and we can help you through it. With the legal knowledge and experience we bring to the table, we will be certain to find the best and most efficient solution to your situation.

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