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Child support is one of the most frequently contested issues in divorce, and for clear reason as the consequent court order can be a financial boon for one party and significantly costly for the other. If you have questions or concerns about child support call our Sacramento family law attorney at (916) 250-1610 Monday – Friday for a consultation.
California Child Support Goals
California family law seeks to establish “adequate child support” that is primarily calculated using the parents’ respective time share with the children and income. In theory, the final child support order will provide the children with a degree of normalcy while ensuring that their basic needs are meet. However, application of the State Uniform Guideline (an algebraic formula used by the courts) often establishes child support awards that exceed the actual costs of raising a child as child support may appropriately increase the standard of living of the custodial household and by extension the standard of living of the children. Moreover, California public policy states that child support is designed to maintain the child’s right to a lifestyle consonant with the parents’ position in society after divorce.
How Child Support Is Calculated
The California Family Code requires courts to use the State Uniform Guideline to calculate child support. While several factors weigh in the calculation the two most important are (1) how much time a parent spends with the children & (2) income. Accordingly, the calculation can strongly favor a low-income stay at home parent over the high-income parent who necessarily spends little time with the children.
Child Support Attorney Fees
Child support attorneys usually bill by the hour instead of a flat fee. In essence, the amount of work required in contested child support cases will depend on how the other party responds. If the other party fights attorney fees will naturally be higher. Accordingly, the amount of work required in a child support case is not predictable at the beginning of representation. Therefore, few attorneys accept child support cases on a flat fee basis.