Child Support in California

Child Support in California

Understanding Child Support in CA

California child support is the equal responsibility of both parents. Child support obligations are laid out in California Family Code Section 4053. When spouses separate or divorce, both parents are required to provide financial support for their children. California child support law also presumes that “a parent having primary physical responsibility for the children contributes a significant portion of available resources for the support of the children.”

When a California court calculates the actual child support amount, the statewide uniform guidelines will take into account each parent’s actual income and the level of custodial responsibility or actual parenting time of each parent. Many states have enacted child support guidelines.

When Does Child Support End in California?

Child support in California may not end when you think. Quite frankly, there is no simple answer to this question. Child support is an important issue for most parents, but an experienced child support lawyer will tell you to look at the language of your existing child support order and understand what is required under California law. In addition, you should never automatically stop making child support payments without understanding the terms of your current obligation.

Understanding when court-ordered child support ends can be confusing. You can find direct reference in California’s Family Code, Section 3901. Child support for unmarried minors usually ends at the child’s eighteenth birthday, but may continue up until age 19 if the child is a full-time high school student still living with a parent. Therefore, while child support generally ends at the age of majority or age 18, California law allows the child support obligation to extend past age 18.

When you read the statute you will note that Section 3901 makes reference to “an unmarried minor,” which means some of the possible scenarios for ending support would be a child who marries or registers as a domestic partner, a child who becomes emancipated under the law, or a child who joins the military.

In California, parents can agree to have child support continue longer than the statutory period. For instance, a parent may agree to extend the support period for purposes of providing for a child in college. We would strongly suggest, however, that you speak to a Los Angeles child support lawyer at Castellanos & Associates, APLC before entering into this type of agreement.

Lastly, California also permits a court to extend a parents’ duty to support an incapacitated child at whatever age if the adult child cannot earn a living and cannot be self-supporting. For example, a child suffering from mental retardation, down syndrome, or cerebral palsy.

Get Help Today! Request a Free Consultation with a Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer

If you are unsure about when your child support obligation is set to end, or if you need help establishing a support order for an incapacitated adult child in California, contact the Los Angeles child support lawyer at Castellanos & Associates, APLC today at (323) 655-2105. We look forward to helping you!