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Under California law, child support refers to the monetary obligation that a parent or an adoptive parent owes on behalf of a child. A stepparent generally has no legal duty to pay child support, unless there has been a legal adoption which also caused the termination of parental rights in the birth parent. Child support can also refer to an obligation owed to a county for monies paid to the child through public assistance. In addition, child support also includes maintenance, health care and education.
Most courts calculate child support by using a software program known as DissoMaster . These program determines the monthly support amount according to statutory guidelines and formulas established by law. The factors which go into the formula include the following:
The child custody time share arrangement
The gross income of both parents
Other taxable and non-taxable income
A new spouse’s income
Adjustment to income (child support and spousal support paid to and resulting from other marriages)
The amount paid to maintain health insurance
Itemized deductions such as required union dues, property tax expenses, deductible interest expense, charitable contributions, necessary job expenses not reimbursed by employer, etc.
Mandatory retirement contributions
Hardship deductions
Child support add-ons such as childcare, visits, school, travel, & uninsured health expenses
The court may also deviate from the guideline amount in the children’s best interest.
Child Support Enforcement
California Courts maintain jurisdiction to modify their orders regarding child support (upward or downward) even after the divorce. However, the moving party (the parent wanting to change the amount of child support) must show the Court that a substantial change of circumstances has taken place that would justify a modification. Such changes in circumstances typically include things like: a change in the income of either parent; a change in the child’s educational or medical needs; or a change in the percentage of custodial time that either parent has with the child.

If child support is not paid in a timely fashion and in the full amount, the past due balance is called an arrearage. There are many ways to deal with child support delinquencies, including wage assignments and liens. The state may also withhold professional licenses, intercept tax refunds or state benefits, or even initiate a criminal prosecution. Be sure and retain the services of an experienced Orange County family law attorney to help you with your enforcement issues as soon as they appear.