Irvine Child Support Lawyer

Irvine Child Support Lawyer

In the heart of Orange County, Irvine is considered one of the best cities to raise children thanks to its renowned schools, picturesque parks, and thriving local culture. No wonder families flock to Irvine in pursuit of a brighter future for their children. However, living in this city can also be expensive.

If you are a parent currently going through a divorce, separation, or paternity case, you probably have a million questions about establishing or enforcing a child support order to ensure the welfare of your little ones. You may also be wondering how the court determines child support and what factors will affect your rights and obligations.

At Kaufman Steinberg, LLP you will find a team of Irvine family law attorneys with decades of combined experience in child custody and support cases. Our partners Stephen J. Kaufman and Jordon P. Steinberg are not only specialists in California family law, but they both have been recognized by prestigious publications and organizations like the Super Lawyer Magazine and Martindale Hubbell for their skillful handling of complex child support and custody matters. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 949-757-9000 or reach out to us online.

Photo of Parent Walking and Holding Child's Hand

What Does Child Support Cover in Irvine, CA?

Child support is a legal obligation that lasts until your child turns 18 and graduates from high school, or until they turn 19 if they are still in high school full-time and cannot support themselves. In some child support cases, it can continue beyond that age if your child has a disability that prevents them from being self-supporting or if you and the other parent agree to extend it.

Despite what some believe, child support is much more than just a monthly payment from one parent to another – it is a way of making sure your child has everything they need to grow up healthy, happy, and successful. Child support payments cover the basic living expenses – food, clothing, shelter, and education – of your child, but they also cover other costs related to your child’s general well-being, like medical care, babysitters, transportation, and extracurricular activities.

In Irvine, these payments are calculated based on California’s child support guidelines that take into account the:

  • Income of both parents
  • Number of children in the family
  • Amount of time each parent spends with the child
  • Health insurance and other benefits available to each parent
  • Tax filing status of each parent
  • Special needs or circumstances of the child or the parents

While the formula is designed to provide a fair amount of support for each child, the court can sometimes deviate from the guideline amount if there are reasons to do so. For example, the court may consider:

  • The income or assets of the child
  • The hardship or financial difficulties of either parent
  • The extraordinary expenses of the child or the parents (e.g., the child has a medical condition; the residence of the custodial parent is damaged by a natural disaster)
  • The educational or career goals of either parent (e.g., one parent is pursuing a doctorate or a license)
  • The best interests of the child

Also, the support amount is not a fixed thing that stays the same forever. If you or the other parent experience a significant change in income, expenses, or parenting time, you can request a modification in the amount. You can also agree with the other parent to change the amount, as long as it is in line with the appropriate child support laws.

How Do I Sue for Child Support?

To sue for child support, you need to file a petition in the court where your child lives. You can do this in different ways, depending on your situation:

  • If you already have a family law case involving your child, such as a divorce, separation, or paternity case, your child support lawyer can file an Order to Show Cause (Form packet L-0048) to ask the family court judge to get a hearing date about creating child support orders.
  • If you don’t have a case already, your child support attorney can file a petition for custody and support of minor children (Form FL-260) or a petition to establish a parental relationship (Form FL-200). 

Once your divorce lawyer files your petition or request for order, they will serve the other parent with a copy of the papers telling them when and where to appear in court. The other parent will have an opportunity to respond to your petition and provide information about their income, expenses, and parenting time.

The court will then schedule a hearing where both parents can present evidence and arguments. The judge will use a guideline formula to calculate the amount of child support based on the income of both parents, the amount of time each parent spends with the child, etc.

Next, they will issue a child support order that clearly states how much money one parent has to pay to the other parent every month until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever happens later. The order may also include other provisions, such as health insurance coverage, childcare costs, educational expenses, and special needs of the child.

Types of Evidence You May Need in a Child Support Case

The court uses different types of evidence to determine the amount of child support obligation that one parent has to pay to the other parent, so this is an important part. The evidence you or the custodial parent provides will also play a role in helping the court decide if there are any special circumstances that require more or less child support than the guideline amount.

The documents you need for your child support case may vary depending on your situation, but some of the common types are:

Financial Documents

These show how much money you earn, spend, and owe.

  • Paystubs
  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Mortgage payments
  • Rent receipts
  • Credit card bills
  • Corporate financial statements if you are a shareholder
  • Records from any income you may have regarding your business, real estate, or other investments
  • Financial documents of the other parent, if you have access to them

Parenting Time

This refers to any type of documented evidence that shows how much time you spend with your child, and how much time the other parent spends with your child. They may include calendars, schedules, logs, or declarations. For child support determination, you also need to show any agreements or orders that affect your parenting time, such as custody orders, visitation orders, or restraining orders.

Photo of Child Toys and Money Support

Child’s Needs

If you have any records regarding the needs and expenses of your child, especially if they have any special needs, you should present them to the court as well. This may include medical records, school records, receipts, invoices, or statements. You also need to show any health insurance, social security, or disability benefits that your child receives. If your child needs additional tutoring to help with their education, include that, too.

In addition, if there are any documents regarding paternity tests, domestic violence reports, criminal records, or immigration status that you think might help with your child support order, provide them to your family law attorney. The legal team at Kaufman Steinberg, LLP can handle all aspects of evidence gathering and organizing to help in determining child support and strengthen your claim in California family courts.

Championing Your Child’s Rights: Contact Our Skilled Irvine Child Support Lawyers Now

As a parent, you want nothing but the best for your kids. You want to give them a happy and secure life with all the opportunities they deserve. But sometimes, you need help from the other parent to do that. Child support is not only a financial support responsibility, but also a moral duty. Unfortunately, some parents find it hard to agree on the amount or the terms of the support.

That’s where we come in. As one of the top family law firms in Irvine, Kaufman Steinberg, LLP is here to guide you through the maze of California child support laws and fight for your rights. We can help you:

  • Understand how child support will work in your specific situation
  • Determine an accurate child support calculation
  • Negotiate a reasonable and fair agreement with the other parent
  • Enforce or modify the support order
  • Represent you in court for child support proceedings if negotiations fail

If the other parent is failing to pay or comply with your existing child support order in Orange County and you require court-ordered child support or you need help in your case involving joint custody, shared parenting, or high-income ex-partner, our Orange County child support lawyers are here for you. Contact us online or call us at 949-757-9000 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.