What Mandatory and Discretionary Add-Ons Are There for California Child Support?

Most of the time, a noncustodial parent is responsible for child support because daily child care and expenses are vested in the custodial parent. This, however, is not a hard-and-fast rule.

The determination of child support in California is based on a complex calculation that takes into account the parents’ incomes, the time spent by each parent with the child, the standard of living for the child, the custodial arrangements, and each parents’ tax deductions.

The state-wide formula is applied for determining child support in California. Courts and family law attorneys customarily use this method to arrive at an appropriate number to be paid as child support. However, sometimes additional benefits over and above the “base rule” are made. This is done by providing for what are known as mandatory and discretionary “add-ons.”

The additional mandatory add-ons under California Family Law Code § 4062 typically include child care costs related to training for employment skills or requiring education to secure employment, as well as all reasonable healthcare costs for the child that are not covered by insurance, such as co-pays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care, and orthodontic care.

Under the very same legislation, discretionary child support may also be granted, keeping in mind specific educational costs (such as those required to facilitate extra-curricular and recreational activities) and other special needs of the child, as well as travel expenses incurred during visitations.

Usually, both parents are responsible for sharing the mandatory and discretionary add-ons equally; however, in cases of a stark income gap between the two parents, the higher earning parent may be held responsible for greater obligations. This is calculated separately in accordance with Family Code § 4061(b).

There are rarely any changes made to the child support amount—not even when one of the parents re-marries.

Child support cases are not easy to understand and analyze. A trusted, experienced family law attorney can make a significant difference in how you deal with this intimately personal crisis.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced in child support matters. Call today to see how we can help you: (415) 293-8314.

What Deductions Are Made from Gross Income for Child Support Purposes?

Child support is a vital decision in family law matters. A court examines the income of both parents when determining child support payments.

Income considered will be each parent’s annual gross income; however, some items and expenses can be subtracted for the purpose of calculating child support. California Family Code § 4059 lists these possible deductions.

For instance, income tax liability is deducted from annual gross income. This does not mean that taxes withheld from a parent’s paycheck will be deducted. The income tax liability is the tax an individual is responsible for paying to the IRS or the state after completing his or her annual tax return filings.

Although income tax withheld from one’s paycheck is not deductible from annual gross income, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) withholdings are deducted.

Other work-related expenses may be deducted from annual gross income for the purpose of determining child support. When this happens, work-related expenses are reviewed to make sure that the expenses were truly necessary or required. Such deductions can include mandatory union dues, mandatory retirement benefits, and/or health insurance premiums (including health insurance premiums for any children that the parent is required to insure).

If a parent is responsible for a child or children of a previous relationship, any child support payments that are made on behalf of that child may be deducted from the parent’s annual gross income, as well. It is important to note that only payments actually made can be deducted. Child support payments may have been ordered but not actually paid—if this is the case, that amount will not be considered deductible from income.

In some cases, a parent can request a deduction for a hardship. If the court determines that a hardship is applicable, the approved calculated amount of the hardship is deducted from that parent’s annual gross income.

If you need assistance in a family law proceeding, you should consult with an experienced California lawyer. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger will provide authoritative legal support tailored to your specific situation. Make the call today to learn how our attorneys can help: (415) 293-8314.

What Is Included in Income for the Purpose of California Child Support?

The state of California takes into consideration the income of both parents when determining child support payments. Sources of income will vary from person to person.

Section 4058 of the California Family Code provides that annual gross income can come from a combination of “commissions, salaries, royalties, wages, bonuses, rents, dividends, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, social security benefits, and spousal support actually received from a person not a party to the proceeding.”

Other sources of income will include that from a business owned by the individual after subtracting the expenses of the business from the revenue. A court may also consider employee benefits or self-employment benefits as part of a parent’s annual gross income if those benefits come in exchange for—or at the expense of—potential income for the receipt of those benefits.

There is income that is not taken into consideration for the determination of child support, as well. Child support received to benefit children from a previous relationship is not considered income for determining support for the child(ren) of the current relationship. Other items that are not considered include public assistance benefits received based on need.

Sometimes, a parent will attempt to avoid being ordered to pay child support by quitting his or her job or taking a lower-paying position or an intentional pay cut. When a parent takes these steps to avoid paying child support, the court may take into consideration the income of that parent’s new spouse or even a new partner to whom the person is not married.

A court may also hold such a parent accountable by evaluating that parent’s income potential. The court can look at how much income that parent could have made. This is known as imputing income.

If you want to learn more about child support matters in California, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We can help. Call us today to make an appointment: (415) 293-8314.

How Do Domestic Violence Restraining Orders Work in California?

How Do Domestic Violence Restraining Orders Work in California?

A domestic violence restraining order is a civil order entered by the court directing an abuser to stop harassing or abusing the victim. The type of abuse that may be the basis for the entry of a restraining order includes the following:

  • causing or attempting to cause the victim physical injury;
  • making the victim fear he or she or another person is in immediate danger of being harmed;
  • threatening or harassing the victim, in person or through other means;
  • stalking the victim;
  • destroying the victim’s personal property; or
  • disturbing the peace of the victim.

For the court to enter a domestic violence restraining order, the abuser must be related to the victim in one of the following ways:

  • a spouse or former spouse;
  • a person the victim is dating or has dated;
  • a lover;
  • the other parent of your child;
  • anyone closely related to the victim by blood, marriage, or adoption; or
  • a person who regularly lives in the victim’s home.

A domestic violence restraining order may provide protection for the victim’s children as well as the victim. Such a restraining order can also include other orders besides a command to stop the abuse. For example, a domestic violence restraining order may include an order regarding spousal support, custody, child support, or parenting time; granting the victim possession of a pet; removing the abuser from a home shared with the victim; or prohibiting the abuser from possessing a firearm.

A victim seeking a domestic violence restraining order must file an application with the court. The application includes a Domestic Violence Date of Birth Verification (Form FL/E-LP-640), a Notice of Court Hearing (Form DV 109), a Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order (Form DV-100 and FL/E-LP-613), a Description of Abuse (Form DV-101), and a Temporary Restraining Order (DV-110). Additional forms must be filed if the victim is also seeking an order regarding spousal support, child support, child custody, or visitation.

If the victim is in immediate danger, the court may issue a temporary restraining order after processing the application but before holding a hearing. Regardless, the court will set a hearing, and the victim must have the abuser served with the Notice of Hearing. Service of the Notice of Hearing is usually done through the sheriff’s department of the county where the abuser lives.

The victim may bring a support person to the restraining order hearing, even if the victim also has an attorney. If evidence at the hearing shows the existence of past or present abuse of the victim by the abuser, then the court will issue a domestic violence restraining order. A domestic violence restraining order can last up to five years but lasts only three years if no termination date is stated. During the last three months of a restraining order, the victim can ask the court to extend the restraining order for another five years or permanently.

If you or a loved one has been or is a victim of abuse, consult an experienced attorney experienced in domestic violence law to help you get a domestic violence restraining order. The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger can help you get the protection you need. Call today to see how we can help you: (415) 293-8314.