In California, child support amounts are usually set by the state guidelines. However, under certain circumstances, the court might order an amount that is different from that of the guidelines.
Child support is a parent’s responsibility
According to the law, providing financial assistance to a child is a parent’s responsibility. While child support is not usually paid into adulthood, there are very specific conditions as to when child support payments will end. These conditions include:
• A child turning 19
• A child turning 18 and not being a full-time high school student
• A child becoming emancipated, either by court order or because they left home to support themselves
• A child marrying or setting up a domestic partnership
• A child dying
Exceptions to the state guidelines for child support
In some rare cases, the court might order different support amounts from the state guidelines. Usually, this is done if the court understands that the amount established is not in the best child’s interests or is unfair. Exceptions to the state guidelines might include child support amounts that are more in line with maintaining the child’s standard of living prior to the parent’s divorce, for example. In those cases, the support amount ordered might be higher than that state’s guidelines. In other cases, the financial situation of the parent who is paying support might warrant the court to issue a different amount of support.
While courts will usually consider both parents’ income and earning potential as well as the time each parent spends with their child when ordering support, some other factors can also be considered, particularly when an exception to the state guidelines is made. The court might look at child care and health needs, other children each parent might have, and whether the parent is paying child support for other children.