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Los Angeles Child Support Lawyer

Los Angeles Child Support Lawyer

According to the California Department of Health and Human Services, child support is “money paid by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent for the support of a child or children.” In other words, if you have primary custody of your child or children, and the other parent does not, they may be required to pay child support to help cover the costs of raising your kids. At Martin Family Law Group, our child support lawyers in Los Angeles are standing by to assist you with your case. Call (310) 694-9533 to schedule your free case evaluation today.

Who Pays Child Support in California?

In the state of California, both parents are legally obligated to support their children financially. However, the non-custodial parent (the parent who does not have primary physical custody of the child) typically pays child support to the custodial parent.

How is Child Support Calculated in California?

In California, child support is typically calculated using a formula known as the “guideline calculation.” This formula takes into account each parent’s income, the amount of time each parent spends with the child, any health insurance or childcare costs, and other factors. You can use the state’s official calculator tool to estimate how much child support you may be entitled to.

However, it’s important to note that the court always has the final say when it comes to awarding child support. The guideline calculation is used as a starting point, but under some circumstances, a judge may choose to deviate from it based on extenuating circumstances.

How to Enforce Child Support Payments in California

If you are a custodial parent in the state of California and the other parent has fallen behind on their child support payments, you have several options for enforcing the payment of those owed funds. Below are three ways that child support payments are enforced in California:

  1. Income Withholding Order: An Income Withholding Order (IWO) is an order from the court that requires the non-custodial parent’s employer to withhold a certain amount from their paycheck each month and send it directly to the court. The court will then forward the funds to the custodial parent.
  2. Lien on Property: If the non-custodial parent owns any property, such as a house or a car, the court can place a lien on that property. This means that the non-custodial parent will not be able to sell the property until they have paid off the outstanding child support debt.
  3. Seizure of Property: In some cases, it may be possible to have the non-custodial parent’s property seized outright to pay off the child support debt. This is usually only possible if the non-custodial parent has significant assets, such as multiple properties or expensive possessions.

How to Modify Child Support in California

There are two ways to modify child support in California: through the court or through negotiation between the parents.

If the parents are unable to reach an agreement on their own, either parent can file a request with the court to have the child support order modified. The court will then review the facts of the case and make a determination as to whether or not a modification is warranted.

Some of the reasons why the court might modify a child support order include a change in circumstances such as:

  • One parent losing their job;
  • A significant change in income for one or both parents;
  • The amount of time each parent spends with the child changes; and
  • One parent remarries and has additional children.

Duty To Support in California

In the state of California, each parent shares responsibility for the support of their children. Minor children require support that is suitable to their circumstances until they reach 19 years old. In some cases, the court will arrange for care of the child to continue for adult children as well.

Children who are incapacitated and require extra care do not fall under the umbrella that only requires parents to care for their children through age 19. There is no maximum age limit for children who need more care.

In certain circumstances, the judge may choose a date that child support payments can be terminated, for instance, if the child marries.

Fees and Expenses

If custodial care of the child is taken over by another person or entity, they could be entitled to financial support from the parent. The court could order the parents to compensate the individual or institution who is taking over the care of the child for the costs incurred.

In these cases, parents can be held responsible for the child support payments, but there are other fees that will mount as well. There are attorney fees involved in enforcing child support orders, and the county or state could incur costs as well. These will all be charged to the parent or parents.

These do not only count for married or divorced couples in California. Registered domestic partners are assigned the same responsibilities as married people in California. The marital parts are less important than the parental situation.


A child who is emancipated no longer requires child support in the eyes of the law. This could happen in a number of ways. Listed below are a few:

  • The child reached the age of majority
  • The child joins the military
  • The child marries

Some disabilities make emancipation impossible. In these cases, the disabled child is owed support from their parent, legally, unless the disability occurs once they are no longer a minor. Once a person is emancipated, their parents are no longer legally responsible for their care. If you have questions about child support or about the whens and ifs of your child’s emancipation, contact Martin Family Law Group.

Child Support Guideline in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, there are guidelines that must be followed when determining the obligations of the parents as monthly child support is concerned. There is a formula used to determine how much support is required. This formula includes a variety of mitigating factors, some of which are listed below:

  • The monthly average income of each parent will be taken into account
  • Each parent’s tax filing status will be reviewed
  • How many children the former couple shared
  • How much time each parent spends with their children
  • If there are children from other relationships, the amount of court-ordered support that is required will be used to calculate child support payments
  • How much is paid in health insurance premiums by each or either parent
  • The amount the parents pay in mandatory retirement contributions
  • Whether either parent is obligated to pay union dues

It can be confusing to determine how self-employment impacts child support payments. Speak to a Los Angeles child support lawyer when determining how this formula works in your specific situation. At Martin Family Law Group, we are prepared to help you determine a child support plan that benefits your child and works for you as well.

Contact A Los Angeles Child Support Lawyer Today

We specialize in family law and can help you understand everything involved with child support payments. If you have questions, The Martin Family Law Group is here to help.

  • We are experienced family law attorneys who have been handling cases like yours for years.
  • Our Los Angeles divorce lawyers offer a free 45-minute consultation so that you can get to know us and we can get to know you and your case. We know that it’s important for you to be comfortable with your attorney, and we want to make sure we’re the right fit for you.

Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.