Child support is one of the few situations in which California courts will require one person to pay another without a legal contract. It’s obvious why child support is essential in many custody cases. When parents no longer live together, the financial burden of caring for their kids can increase significantly. Support paid by a higher-income parent to a lower-income parent is intended to give both adults the ability to take care of their children consistently.
But what are these funds actually supposed to be used for? Keep reading to learn what child support funds are intended to cover and how California determines the amount to order.
Child Support’s Intended Purposes
Child support is specifically meant to be used for the kid’s benefit. It’s not just “extra” money. The receiving parent should use it to buy things that improve their kids’ lives. As such, this money is supposed to be used to cover costs like:
- Medical expenses
However, these costs aren’t limited to the kids’ needs alone. For instance, kids live in the same homes as their custodial parents. Therefore, using these funds to cover rent or a mortgage on a larger or more comfortable residence is acceptable.
Similarly, the recipient can also use the money to pay for utility bills, property taxes, home repairs, furniture, cars, meals in restaurants with the kids, and even vacations. As long as the child’s needs are covered, no one is being abused, and the funds are bettering their lives, the money is used as intended.
How California Determines Child Support
So, these orders are intended to provide for the children’s lifestyle. However, that still leaves an important question: how much money should be ordered? After all, if custody is shared, both parents will need to provide for their children. Even if it isn’t shared, the non-custodial parent still deserves to keep enough money to take care of themselves.
That’s why California has developed a strict set of calculations to determine the amount of child support in any given custodial arrangement. This calculator takes into account dozens of variables, including:
- The income of each parent
- The financial resources of each parent
- The children’s age
- The children’s special needs, if any
- The amount of time the child spends with each parent
- The number of children involved in the arrangement
- Any other support either parent is already paying
- Hardships faced by either parent
When these considerations are taken into account, the calculator will determine a specific monthly payment and who must pay it. California courts are bound to follow the calculator’s results to ensure fairness.
Take Control of Your Child Support Order
Whether you’re supposed to pay or receive child support, it’s a critical element of childcare when you’re no longer with your kid’s other parent. California courts must adjust these orders so they’re fair to all parties. If you’re facing an undue financial burden because of your current arrangement, you can get help. Reach out to an experienced family law attorney to begin the process of getting your order adjusted.