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¡No Se Deje!
California law establishes the right of minor children to receive financial support from parents that do not have custody. Parents often mistakenly believe that if they have custody, they can decide whether to ask for child support for their children. Parents do not have the right to refuse child support payments that are owed to their children.
Some parents think that they can avoid allowing the other parent to visit the child if they are not accepting child support. This is incorrect. Custodial parents are expected to take necessary steps to cause the non-custodial parent to pay child support to their minor children. NO CHILD SUPPORT IS OWED UNTIL A JUDGE ORDERS IT. CUSTODIAL PARENTS SHOULD REQUEST A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER AS SOON A THE OTHER PARENT LEAVES THE HOME. Visitation agreements and court orders are totally separate legal issues. Minor children are entitled to child support whether or not the non-custodial parent has court ordered visitation rights and irrespective of actual visitation.
Because almost one half of all minor children in this country live in single parent homes, laws have been enacted to require all parents to provide financial support to their minor children. This is done to reduce the number of children forced to live in poverty. The legal process for obligating non-custodial parents to pay required child support is intentionally very simple. The Child Support Services Department and the Family Support Divisions of each County provide multilingual free services to assist custodial parents in filing the necessary court petitions.
The amount of money the non-custodial parent must pay for each minor child is determined by a legal formula that is applied by family court judges. Judges consider the financial needs of the child, the custodial situation, the number of children, and the income and other financial resources of both parents, among other factors. The law also requires non-custodial parents to contribute or pay for the health care needs and insurance of their minor children. And, in certain situations, the non-custodial parent can be required to pay for childcare costs if necessary to allow the custodial parent to work or go to school.
Court ordered child support payments are usually made through mandatory deductions from the parent’s paycheck. These amounts are sent to the State Child Support Collection Agency which sends it to the custodial parent. Missed or late child support payments add interest and penalties to the amount due and are also collected by the government for the child. A significant change in the income/salary of the parents can justify an appropriate increase or decrease in the amount of child support required under the law.
The law provides many penalties for non-custodial parents that refuse to pay child support. Violators can lose their Drivers’ Licenses, Professional Licenses like Barbers or Accountants Licenses, and Passports. Liens can be placed on their real estate and personal property and their wages and bank accounts can be taken to satisfy child support obligations. ¡NO SE DEJE! ®
Jess J. Araujo, Esq.