Going through a divorce often brings out the worst in people. It can be easy to take the pain and rejection that comes from a divorce and turn it into anger. Unquestionably, for many families, one of the most contentious issues during a divorce is child custody and support.
In California, the person who requests the divorce typically also makes a request to the court about child support and custody at the time of filing. The courts, in turn, issue temporary orders for support and custody that will eventually be replaced by the final divorce ruling. For the non-custodial parent, the amount of support may seem unfair.
Child support is determined by a formula in California
Unless you and your former spouse are collaborating and cooperating with the process of filing for divorce, chances are good that the temporary custody and support orders are based on information provided by your former spouse. The state of California uses a formula that includes both parents' income, as well as standard of living and special needs of the child, to determine an appropriate amount of support. If you weren't able to provide input during that initial process, the support order may not be based on all of the facts about your family's situation.
Keep paying until you can have the amount changed
If the temporary support order requires an amount of child support that simply seems too high, you have to follow a specific process to request an adjustment. Speaking with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible is important, but so is continuing to pay your ordered support amount in full. Particularly if you are hoping to obtain full or shared custody of your children, your timely and full payment of child support is one of the best ways to demonstrate your commitment to your children and their well-being.
If you aren't seeing your children as much as you'd like to, it can be tempting to withhold child support until the issue is resolved. Doing so will only hurt your case during the divorce, and could result in having your pay garnished, your tax return seized, or even the issuance of a bench warrant for your arrest. Paying support in full is of utmost importance during divorce proceedings.
An attorney can help request an adjustment of your support amount
By retaining the services of an experienced family law and divorce firm, you protect yourself and your future during a divorce. One of the many ways an attorney can help is by guiding you through the complex system by which support levels are determined.
They can request a hearing, wherein your attorney can present additional information for the courts in the hopes that the level of support can be adjusted. He or she can advocate for your rights in the courts by using knowledge of and experience with the family court system to your benefit.