Divorce can be an emotionally challenging and stressful experience, especially if children are involved. If two spouses divorce, they are both still financially responsible for taking care of their children.
Child support is a crucial system for helping ensure your children’s needs are being met as they age. Though the specific regulations are sometimes difficult to understand, both parents are obligated to pay child support after a divorce until their children reach the age of 18. Some divorced spouses, however, question whether they can waive their child support, but this is not legally allowed in California.
Understanding Child Support
Child support is a continuous contribution of money that is used to pay for the living and medical expenses of your children. This will be paid until your child reaches legal adulthood. However, in certain cases, child support can extend through a child’s college education.
Child support is calculated based on several different factors, including parents’ income, children’s needs, and how often the child or children spend time with each parent. Both parents’ medical status will also be considered, as well as the cost of living in the child’s area in order to calculate the fairest child support order possible. Every child support case is unique, and additional factors may be considered when calculating the final amount.
Why You Cannot Waive Child Support
Every child in the United States has a constitutional right to care, which includes access to health care, education and services, and recreation. If a parent does not offer child support after a divorce, they are withholding their child’s constitutional rights. Not paying child support is dismissive of the best interests of the child. As a result, it is mandatory to pay child support everywhere in the United States. Children rely on their parents for care, including finances, until they reach adulthood.
Some parents attempt to waive child support for various reasons. Regardless of the reason, however, they are legally required to pay child support. The inability to financially provide is the most common reason a parent may seek to waive child support requirements. Some parents may forego pushing for child support from the other parent due to how lengthy and complicated the process is to complete. While the process is indeed lengthy, especially for those who don’t fully understand the laws, it is every parent’s duty to ensure their children receive the best care possible.
Some parents may think if they request child support from their spouse, the spouse may want to adjust the amount of custody they have of their children or the amount of spousal support they provide. Some parents also believe they can allow one parent to not pay child support in return for primary custody of their children. However, in any scenario, parents must pay a set amount of child support as required by law.
Your Options for Child Support
Child support can be challenging to fully understand, and the process may seem daunting when you’re going through the divorce process. However, parents have options available if they’re unsure about child support.
While every parent is required to pay child support, you can make an agreement to pay an amount that is fair given your situation. If one parent makes less money than the other, they may be required to pay a smaller amount than the other parent. After considering all factors involved, each parent will be ordered to pay a certain amount within their ability to pay.
If financial situations change in the future, you may submit paperwork to have your child support amount lowered. You will need to discuss this in court, as this also has to be accepted by the other parent. While child support can be a taxing process to determine, you still have options available to ensure you’re paying the fairest amount possible.
Q: Can Parents Agree to No Child Support in California?
A: No, parents cannot agree to pay zero child support after a divorce. This is because it’s not in the best interests of the child or children. While parents are required to pay child support in every instance, the amount each parent has to pay will be calculated in court. This will ensure both parents are paying an amount that they have the reasonable ability to pay.
Q: What Is the Minimum Child Support in California?
A: There is no set minimum child support amount in California, as every case is unique and based on many different factors. However, child support is based on each parent’s income and their children’s needs. The exact amount you’ll be required to pay will be decided and told to you after calculating this in court. If you’re unsure of what factors are used in determining your amount, speak with a lawyer who can guide you through the process.
Q: How Do I Get Out of Child Support in California?
A: If there has been a change in circumstances since your agreement was finalized, you can file paperwork and submit it to the court. While it is possible to relieve yourself of child support duties, this is very rare. If you agree to let a stepparent adopt your child, however, you will no longer have to pay child support. Otherwise, when your child is 18, in most cases, you will no longer have to pay child support by then.
Q: Do Fathers Have to Pay Child Support in California?
A: Yes. Every parent, whether mother or father, must pay child support. This is the case regardless of your marital status. If you are the biological father of your children, you are obligated to pay child support, as this is in the best interests of your children. If you’re a father who is unsure about your rights and requirements, a lawyer can help you understand the process.
Your Upland Child Support Lawyer
Child support cases can be difficult to navigate on your own, but we can help. The Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires has the ability and knowledge needed to help you understand your rights and achieve the best results possible for your children. Contact us today to learn more about child support laws in California.