CHILD SUPPORT AND CHILD SUPPORT ARREARS
What is child support?
Whether you're just starting a divorce, legal separation, or are separated from the other parent of your child or children, it is important to ensure that your child(ren) are properly cared for. One of the most important considerations is how your child(ren) will be financially supported.
Child support is typically determined using a standard formula defined by law, but there are many different factors that can affect the ultimate calculation. Just a few of the factors include the parties' respective incomes, the sources of the income, and the parenting schedule ("timeshare"). Department of Child Support Services (or DCSS) has a child support calculator that can give you a general idea of what the child support calculations may yield, but it is imperative that the calculations be made accurately. If calculations are done incorrectly, it can result in payments ordered that are too low or too high. This can ultimately result in a child not receiving the proper level of financial support, or a parent ordered to pay an amount that they cannot possibly afford each month.
Who is DCSS?
Department of Child Support Services (or DCSS) is the statewide agency charged with handling child support issues, including enforcing child support orders. DCSS is usually not involved unless one of the parents opens a case with the agency, or if a party begins receiving aid. When DCSS become involved in a case, it may become difficult to understand their policies, or navigate the court process.
Our firm has worked with many parents to resolve their child support issues. Often times we have clients that do not understand why certain actions are being taken in their case, and we are hired to get to the bottom of the issue. This often involves speaking with the attorneys and case workers at DCSS to obtain all the necessary information, and to determine what the best course of action to take is.
What are arrears?
When child support payments are ordered but not paid on time, this results in child support arrears (overdue debt). In California, interest also accrues at the rate of 10% per annum. The amount owed can grow very quickly and become out of control.
If payments are late, and DCSS is involved in your case, DCSS has the administrative power to suspend your driver's license, suspend your passport, or even intercept your tax refunds or place a levy on your bank account. At that point, it is imperative that you seek the advice of an attorney so that you clearly understand your rights and obligations under the law. Furthermore, we can assist you in negotiating a compromise, if your case qualifies.
On the other hand, if you are not receiving your child support payments as ordered and arrears are building, our firm can assist you in enforcing the order.
We can help you with your child support and/or child support arrears issues. Please call (925) 228-0800.