Maybe, maybe not. But since child support laws vary from state to state, let’s first identify exactly how child support is defined in California. According to California Child Support Services, the state agency that governs child support, “Child support is the ongoing contribution of money to help pay for the living and medical expenses of a child or children until they are adults.” Many divorcing clients assume that the terms of their child support order are set in stone until the duty to pay ends, but that’s not true for a number of very good reasons.
The most common reason they change is because child support is based on current income, not income at the time of divorce. So let’s say you’re the parent responsible for paying child support and you get a big promotion, so your income significantly increases. In most cases, what you pay for child support will also increase. Bear in mind that there is not maximum cap on what a parent may have to pay for child support.
At Laughlin Legal, whenever we’re drafting a marital settlement agreement with a child support order, we always include that both parties must exchange tax returns every year while their children are minors so we can ensure that child support is adequate. That sort of legal detail is what separates the average family lawyer from the best child support lawyers.
Child support is more complex than just a percentage of income however. Numerous add ons include a variety of childcare expenses such as educational expenses, unreimbursed healthcare expenses, and childcare expenses so a parent can work. These add ons also fluctuate and typically increase over time so it’s important to review your child custody order with your divorce attorney, family lawyer, or child support lawyer every year.
Another reason for an annual review is laws change. In a new senate bill being adopted, child support add ons that used to be split 50/50 are now going to be allocated based on the respective incomes of the parties.
A little known fact that only the best child support lawyers seem to know.
A common mistake we see in child support and spousal support cases is the failure to get a life insurance policy that insures the recipient of support in case of death. If you’ve been a stay at home parent and out of the job market for 15 years, currently living on the spousal support and/or child support you were awarded, and your ex has a heart attack and dies, you’ll get nothing! Unless there’s a section in the marital settlement agreement mandating that a spouse take out a life insurance policy that insures payment of support in case of death.
Schedule an hour with an expert California child support lawyer.
Laws change, people’s income changes, child add on expenses change, and people die unexpectedly. So it’s important to schedule an hour with a skilled and experienced California child support lawyer to make sure that you’re receiving all that you’re entitled to.