Whether you are in an Orange County divorce, legal separation, or paternity proceeding, if you have children, you will have to deal with the issue of child support sooner or later. Child support is something that parents must deal with when their children live part of the time with one parent and part of the time with the other parent. When the parties were together, the children enjoyed the lifestyle and station in life enjoyed by the parents together, but when the parents are separated and living in separate households, child support serves as an equalizing factor to help the children share in the lifestyle of both parents.
The notion of guideline child support was developed by the California legislature to assist parties in determining the appropriate level of support based upon a number of factors, tied somewhat to the cost of living in a certain area of California. Different counties use different “guidelines” set to their geographic region. Orange County, for example, uses the Santa Clara County guideline, presumably because their cost of living indexes are so close.
Two of the most important factors that are considered when establishing guideline child support are the timeshare each parent spends with each child and the relative incomes of each party. The more time a child spends away from a parent, the more money that parent has to pay for support. The rationale behind this is that, if the child were living with the parent, the parent would be caring for his or her basic needs like food, shelter, clothing, cell phones, and other high tech gadgets (ok, maybe not the last 2) by spending their money for these things. If the child is not with the parent, then the parent should pay over a percentage of their income to the other parent to make up for the shortfall created by the child’s spending more time with the other parent, who consequently spends a relatively larger percentage of their income to maintain the child. So that is the theory behind child support.
Guideline child support can actually change, depending on certain changes in circumstances. If, for example, you had an old order based upon the parties each earning a certain amount of money or having a certain amount of time share, if any of those factors change significantly, such as when one party loses his or her job, then the change may have an impact on the level of support one party pays the other. If such a thing happens, it is a good idea to consult an Orange County Child Support Lawyer to see if you should modify child support to reflect the current situation.