Child Support

If you have children, and you and your husband or wife are getting a divorce, filing for legal separation, or getting your marriage annulled, you will want to make sure that you work out child support terms so that your children are financially taken care of. A request for child support can also be made even if you and the other parent were not married at the time the child was conceived. In that case, paternity will need to be established. A judge may also order child support from one parent in a domestic violence case where a restraining order is involved.

Child support is the amount of money that one parent has been ordered by the court to pay the other parent each month so that the children are financially supported. Support payments usually continue until a child becomes a legal adult at 18, gets married, becomes emancipated, or passes away. If a child is older but is still living at home, single, in high school, and unable to financially support themselves, then a court may order the child support payments to continue. A parent may also support a child who has special needs through adulthood.

Mello & Pickering, LLP will assist you in obtaining child support, either by negotiating with the other parent or by obtaining an order through court. If necessary, we will litigate your case for you to make sure that your son or daughter receives the support that he or she needs.

Ensuring that your child is taken care of is a very important matter and we will use our expertise to advise you, and guide you through this process. We will also take legal action to modify or enforce existing child support orders as necessary.

If you are a parent who believes that the request for modification should not be granted, we will prepare your defense against modification so that you are not forced to pay or receive more or less support than you are entitled to.

California’s Child Support Guidelines

If parents are unable to agree on the amount of child support without court intervention, the judge will use California’s statewide guidelines for calculating the amount of child support that a parent must pay.

These calculations will take into account the number of children that need child support, income and earning potential of each parent, as well as their tax filing status, any health care, education, or daycare costs, mandatory retirement payments, whether other children from other relationships are also receiving child support, travel costs for visitation, any other specific needs that a child might have, and which parent has primary physical custody of the child(ren).

A temporary child support order may be issued while a couple is working out the final support terms.

Modifications to Child Support

If the other parent’s income and/or financial situation has changed, a parent may want to file a motion to modify the amount of child support. Modifications to child support can either increase or decrease the current payment amounts and they may be temporary—if temporary changes in circumstances warrant this kind of modification. A parent who does not wish to change the current support order can ask their family law attorney to file a defense against modification. A court must approve all modifications.

Enforcing An Existing Child Support Order

By law, a parent who is ordered to pay child support must make their monthly payments. If a parent is not fulfilling their responsibilities and has become delinquent with their payments, we will take legal action to enforce the support order for you to make sure that you receive future support payments and any arrearages (overdue payments). If the other parent still refuses to pay child support after you’ve taken steps to enforce your child support order, we will take further action.

California Department of Child Support Services

The DCSS provides a number of child support services designed to ensure that a child’s financial, medical, and emotional well-being are taken care of. These services include requesting, enforcing, and modifying child support orders issued by a court. The DCSS also works to collect and distribute child support. Mello & Pickering, LLP will work with the DCSS to make sure that your child support case is resolved.

Committed to helping mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters achieve a resolution to their child custody matters while taking into consideration the best interests of the children, Mello & Pickering, LLP offers skilled family law services to each of our clients. Our law firm is conveniently located in San Jose, California, which allows us to represent clients in Morgan Hill, San Jose, Santa Clara, Pleasanton, Menlo Park, Hayward, Fremont, Saratoga, Los Altos, Mountain View, Milpitas, Atherton, Palo Alto, Campbell, Gilroy, as well as other cities in Alameda County, San Mateo County, and Santa Clara County.

Mello & Pickering, LLP offers all prospective clients a free, 20-minute initial phone consultation. Please call us at (408) 288-7800 or e-mail Jennifer Mello or Traci Pickering.

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