Child support is a financial obligation between a parent and his or her child. It is generally mandated by a court and subject to an order that, if ignored, can mean legal penalties for the nonpaying parent. With regard to how child support operates in the state, the California Department of Child Support Services provides a handbook on how child support is managed within the California courts.
Generally, a court will consider a child support order during a couple's divorce if that couple has children. A child support matter can also come before a court if a parent files a complaint seeking child support from the youth's other parent. Once parents are engaged in the child support process they will find out how their incomes are considered with respect to the state's child support guidelines.
The state's child support guidelines provide some uniformity for how child support is established in the various courts of California. Though both parents are expected to contribute to a child's financial well-being, a noncustodial parent may be asked to make payments on behalf of his or her child in order to effectuate this end. Courts can vary their child support awards, though, when factors warrant making changes. A child's medical condition or other special needs may require that parents pay more support than is actually stipulated by the guidelines.
Support calculations take into consideration many factors that are unique to the individuals subject to the process. If an individual feels that his support order is too high or simply not correct, he may request a modification of his order. A change to a child support order cannot be guaranteed through a request for a modification, though attorneys who work in the family law field can help their clients prepare pleadings that address their concerns regarding the computations of their child support obligations.