How To Apply for Child Support in San Diego, CA

Parents are obligated to financially support their children whether they have custody or do not live with them. If your child’s other parent does not pay child support, you can apply for child support through the state. However, hiring a San Diego child support attorney to handle your case has benefits.

Applying for Child Support Within the State of California

You can apply for child support through the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS). You do not need an attorney to apply for child support in San Diego through DCSS. However, there are some drawbacks to applying for child support in San Diego through DCSS.

California calculates child support payments according to standard child support guidelines. You can get help estimating child support payments by contacting the Family Law Facilitator’s Office for San Diego. However, the attorneys at FLF are not your lawyers. Instead, they are neutral court employees who can provide information and services to anyone in a case.

You can use the California child support calculator to estimate child support payments. However, using the calculator requires knowledge and understanding of tax law and California family law. Therefore, it is easy to make a mistake if you are not experienced in child support matters.

Applying for child support through DCSS can be a lengthy process. You must first open a case with DCSS. Then, the office tries to locate your child’s other parent to begin the process of calculating and collecting child support. The DCSS does not always work proactively to obtain child support payments.

However, if you hire a San Diego child support lawyer, they can file a motion with the court seeking child support. Going through the court is often faster than applying for child support through the state. If you also need to file for divorce, legal separation, paternity, or other family law matters, the motion for child support can be included with the other filing.

How Is Child Support Calculated in California?

Child support obligations in California are determined using the statewide uniform child support guidelines. The guidelines use several factors to determine a parent’s portion of child support payments. Those factors include:

  • Each parent’s gross income
  • The number of children to be supported
  • Allowable expenses and deductions from gross income
  • The time-sharing agreement for overnight visits
  • A parent’s tax filing status
  • Health insurance premiums a parent pays

The child support guidelines are the presumptive amount of support the parents should pay. However, a judge may deviate from the child support guidelines based on the facts of the case. 

Judges may consider travel expenses for visitation, the cost of extra-curricular activities, private school tuition, a child’s special needs, and other expenses for the child when calculating child support payments.

How To Modify Child Support Payments in San Diego, CA

If you have a child support order, circumstances may have changed that could result in modification of child support payments. To modify child support, you must file a motion with the court and prove that a substantial change in circumstances justifies modifying the current order.

Examples of circumstances that could result in a modification of child support include:

  • Becoming unemployed through no fault of your own
  • Being unable to find another job within a reasonable period after a good-faith search
  • Becoming disabled because of an accident, injury, or illness
  • The birth or adoption of another child
  • A parent is deployed in the military service
  • A substantial change in either parent’s income
  • A change in the time-sharing or custody arrangement that results in the paying parent having more overnight visits with the child

The parent asking to modify child support payments has the burden of proving something has changed to justify the modification. The change must be “substantial” for a judge to change an existing order.

If you can’t pay child support payments, talk to a San Diego child support lawyer as soon as possible. Modifications of child support are not retroactive. Therefore, you want to obtain a judgment modification as soon as possible to reduce child support so you can avoid child support arrears.

Likewise, if you are asking for more money, you want to act now to file your petition. As with other modifications, an increase in child support payments will not be retroactive. Call a San Diego child support lawyer today for a free consultation.

Contact Our Family Law Firm in San Diego, CA

Contact our experienced San Diego family law lawyers at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC today for legal assistance. Contact our San Diego office at (619) 866-3756 to schedule a free consultation.

San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC
2851 Camino del Rio S #430
San Diego, CA 92108