Orange County Child Support Lawyer

Mother with children using laptop in kitchenWhen a divorce involves children, child support is an extremely important part of the process. However, figuring out the rightful amount of child support can be complicated and often emotional, particularly when parents do not agree.

At the Orange County Law Offices of Amy M. Montes, our legal team provides comprehensive child support representation for those seeking support, as well as those facing child support obligations. Using our extensive knowledge of state child support guidelines and the California Family Code, our legal experts provide straightforward guidance based on your unique family situation. Attorney Montes is known throughout Orange County as a dedicated, compassionate representative who takes a holistic approach to family law matters.

Whether you are seeking a new child support order, want to modify an existing order, or want to talk to a legal professional about your child support obligation, The Law Offices of Amy M. Montes can help. We offer comprehensive legal representation for California child support matters, as well as unbundled services and limited-scope representation. Call (714) 731-8600 or contact The Law Offices of Amy M. Montes online to schedule your free consultation today.

Child Support & California Courts

Girl hugging her fatherUnder California law, each parent is equally responsible for providing financial support for the needs of his or her child. When couples get divorced, the court must ensure that both parents are still providing for the child financially—which is where child support comes into play.

Child support in California is determined using a guideline calculator, which takes many factors into consideration. These factors include:

  • Each parent’s income
  • The number of children involved
  • How much time the children will spend with each parent (i.e. the time-share, determined by custody and visitation orders)
  • Tax filing status of each parent
  • Child support from other relationships
  • Health insurance expenses
  • Mandatory union dues
  • Mandatory retirement contributions
  • The cost of sharing daycare and uninsured health-care cost.

After considering these factors, the judge may also look at having the parents share other costs, including childcare that allows the parent to work (or attend school or training for work skills), reasonable healthcare expenses, traveling for visitation, and educational needs.

The legal experts at the Law Offices of Amy M. Montes have extensive experience reviewing these factors and helping clients understand their situation in a realistic way. We approach child support calculation just like a family court judge would, giving you the best chance of success in court.

Modification of Child Support Orders

Big sister with disabled brother in wheelchair by school busFamily situations and financial circumstances can change almost overnight, putting parents who pay child support in an incredibly difficult position. If you are no longer able to fulfill your child support obligation, you can file for a post-judgment modification of the support order.

In order to obtain a child support modification, you will have to show there has been a “change in circumstances” since the last order. Acceptable reasons for post-judgment child support modifications include:

  • One parent has lost his or her job
  • One parent has been incarcerated
  • The income of one or both parents has changed
  • One parent had another child from another relationship
  • There have been significant changes in how much time the child spends with each parent
  • There have been substantial changes in certain costs, such as childcare, education, or healthcare
  • There have been substantial changes to another factor used to calculate child support

If both parents are able to agree on the modification, they can write it up—with the help of a family law attorney—and have a judge sign it. At this point, it will become a new, legally binding child support order. However, if the parents cannot agree, the parent seeking the change must file a motion for a child support modification in court, and then prove how the circumstances have changed since the initial order.

Child Support Services

iStock_000009808823_LargeIn some cases, it may be necessary to bring child support litigation by opening a case with the Department of Child Support Services. When a case is opened with the Department of Child Support Services, it is taken out of family court and placed with a Title 4 commissioner, who then hears the case and uses guideline calculators to determine support.

Child support cases that involve the Department of Child Support Services can be particularly complex, and they require a skilled and experienced family law attorney.

Enforcement of Child Support Orders

Failure to pay child support can have serious legal consequences. If the court finds that you have the ability to make child support payments and are simply refusing to do so, you could be held in contempt of court.

If there are extenuating circumstances preventing you from making child support payments, do not wait until the court gets to the enforcement stage. Losing your job, receiving a pay cut, and other events that impact your financial situation are all grounds for a child support modification. It is crucial to be proactive and modify the child support order before enforcement becomes an issue.

Without effective guidance and representation, a parent can face jail time or other criminal implications for not complying with child support orders. Attorney Montes has assisted in the contempt panel with Orange County Superior Court, and she is able to represent men and women pursuing contempt charges, as well as those facing contempt.

Contact the Law Offices of Amy M. Montes

The Law Offices of Amy Montes are proud to represent the men and women of Orange County in all family law matters. If you are dealing with child support issues or have questions about how child support is calculated in California, do not hesitate to contact our offices.

Our legal team provides compassionate and thorough representation in child support cases. Whether you are seeking child support from an ex-spouse, want to modify an existing child support, or have questions about your child support obligation, the Law Offices of Amy M. Montes can help. Attorney Montes will work tirelessly to understand the nuances of your case and come up with the best course of action. As an experienced Orange County legal advocate, she understands the legal process and the complex issues that go into determining child support payments, and she can help you come up with the best solution for you and your family.