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A Parent's Guide to Child Support in California

Last updated 6 years ago

If you have a child with someone who is not your spouse and do not have legal custody over the child, you will probably be ordered to pay child support. This money is due to the custodial parent to provide for the child’s financial, educational, and medical needs. Child support laws vary from state to state, but here are some basic guidelines for California child support:

  • Calculating Child Support: The amount one parent must pay to the supporting parent in child support is not rigidly determined. Instead, child support payments are set according to a series of guidelines. First, parents have the opportunity to agree on a figure. If they cannot agree, a judge will set child support based upon the parents’ income, their total number of children, the amount of time each parent spends with the child, the costs associated with child rearing, and other relevant factors.
  • Missing Child Support Payments: If you fail to pay child support on time, you will be required to pay additional interest on your fees. This interest is included in your payments by law and cannot be waived by a judge. Your payments will be increased by 7% per year, unless the payments were due before January 1, 1983, in which case you will be assessed 10% interest.
  • Termination of Child Support: Child support is generally due to the custodial parent until the child reaches the age of 18. If your child is in high school, payments terminate when he or she graduates or turns 19, whichever comes first. Payments are also not required in the case of emancipation, marriage, commencement of military service, or death.

Family law can be complex, so you should prepare yourself for any child support discussions by hiring a child custody attorney. An attorney’s knowledge of the law will ensure that your rights are respected and that your child is properly cared for. To learn more, call Moreno Family Law in San Jose at (408) 266-9011.




The materials available at this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use and access to this website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.


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