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Child support is mandatory in all actions involving minor children. Petitioners with minor children must include an order for child support, even if the other parent is unemployed or cannot be found. 

Under most State Laws, a standard uniform guideline is used to determine child support payment amounts. It is based on the incomes of both parents and the amount of time each parent spends with the children. The guidelines do provide for add-on amounts for the following:

  • Child care costs
  • Health care and health insurance cost
  • Cost of special educational or other needs of a child
  • Travel-related expenses for visitation

AllLaw.com follows the guideline amounts and will automatically compute it for you. However, parents can either increase or decrease the statutory guideline amount if the following conditions are met:

1. Both parents acknowledge that they are fully informed of their rights pursuant to California law and that the amount of child support is being agreed to without coercion or duress,

2. Both parents declare that the agreed amount is in the best interest of the children and the children's needs will be adequately met by the agreed amount, and

3. For welfare recipients, the right to support has not been assigned to the county pursuant to Section 11477 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and no public assistance application is pending by either parent.

Child support orders can be modified at any time in case of special circumstances or substantial changes in the income of a parent. The parties can agree in writing to the changed amount or can motion the court to change the amount. You should seek an attorney to change the amount in the future if needed.

Any order for child support payments must include an order for the assignment of wages, unless it is agreed in writing that no wage assignment will be filed with an employer if the spouse is not in arrears by more than a specified time or is current on his/her payments.

The commencement date of child support is normally fixed at a date when it is anticipated that the judgment dissolving the marriage will be signed by the court, even though the parties will not legally be divorced for yet another 6 months. If the entry of judgment is delayed for some reason, e.g., a hearing is set or respondent opposes the action, then an application expediting the payment of child support can be filed with the court. You should seek an attorney if this is the case.

If a parent does not pay child support or is late by a significant factor, he or she can be sued for contempt of court, have wages attached, have tax refunds attached, or have drivers licenses blocked. These actions should be handled by an experienced attorney.

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