Family Law Blog

Does a Custodial Parent Have to Show How Child Support is Used?

Friday, July 20, 2018

Child support can be a difficult issue. The idea is that non-custodial parents pay the primary caretakers so that they use that money to best provide for their child. Unfortunately, for some parents, they don't always use that money for their child, and it can leave non-custodial parents like they are being taken advantage of.

It is believed by many that child support should go to items that provide for the child, such as food, clothes, and toys. However, the truth is that child support can also technically be used for non-tangible items that go towards the child's well-being. Often child support is used towards paying rent, utilities, child care, and even the child's entertainment. Technically, these go towards caring for the child, but in doing so also aids the primary caretaker.

Yet, even knowing this, there are some that pay child support that want to know exactly where their money is going. Unfortunately, most agencies do not monitor this. The way child support is calculated reflects the reasonable needs of the child and the ability of the paying parent to support them. However, if you suspect the primary caretaker of not using the money to supply the child's needs, such as going on extravagant vacations without the child or funding a new alcohol or drug addiction, you can bring it up with the courts. Often these issues go hand-in-hand with neglectful behavior and it can then become a custody issue. Often this can result in re-assigning custody to the non-custodial parent if the issue is bad enough.

If you suspect that your ex-spouse is abusing your child support payments for their own pleasure instead of providing proper care for your child, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra and Jamra can help you navigate the court system so you make sure you are not wasting your money and your child is being taken care of.

Does Remarriage Stop Child Support?

Friday, July 20, 2018

After divorce, time has a way of marching on. Even if you share children together, if you are no longer together, both the custodial and non-custodial parents may start to see other people and even consider getting remarried. However, does remarriage affect child support payments?

In many cases, it doesn't. You aren't paying for the care of your ex-spouse, you are paying for the care of your child. This means that even if a custodial spouse remarries, the non-custodial parent will need to continue the agreed upon child support payments. Often, if the non-custodial parent remarries, they will simply need to talk over their financial contribution to their child with their new spouse. If you are still actively involved in your child's life, you will still want to keep making payments until they reach the age of majority.

There is one occasion in which the non-custodial parent will be freed from child support payment responsibility, and that is if the new partner of your ex-spouse agrees to formally adopt the child. While many step-parents may like to formally adopt them, it does require the non-custodial parent to relinquish their remaining parental rights. Once this has been done, the non-custodial parent may be barred from contact with their child because they have no parental rights, which is why even though this is an option to escape child support, it is not always an option that non-custodial parents want to take.

It can be worked out with your ex-spouse, that if you are on amicable terms, you can still be involved in your child's life, but often they can very legally change their mind on this agreement later. While the animosity of divorce can fade with time, it is typically not a good idea to relinquish your parental rights of a child if you still want to be involved in their life.

For more information on child support, divorce, or other family law topics, contact us today to see what we can do to help you.

Does a Father Have to Pay Child Support If The Children Aren't His?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

When a couple divorces and they have children, in most cases the father will be expected to pay child support to the mother. In these cases, the mother will be the primary custody holder of the children and it is the father's duty to continue to support the children financially, at least in part. However, what happens to divorcing couples where the father is not the biological father of the children in that family?

The law states that if the children of a dissolving marriage are not related to you by blood, then you are under no obligation to pay child support for those children. However, even if one child is not related to the divorcing father and another child is, the father will still have to pay child support for his biological children.

There can be a few small hurdles to overcome for a divorcing father that does not want to pay child support for children that are not biologically his. Often this can include simply taking a paternity test requested by the court. This is most common when the child's birth certificate does not have a father's name on it or even has your name on it. However, if you persist that you are not the father, the paternity test can prove this true or false. If the child's birth certificate does have another man's name on it, the paternity test may not be necessary, though it can easily clear up any arguments.

Unfortunately, if you argue against paternity and child support, this will mean that you do not have any legal authority or right to visitation of the child. If you fight against child support, there will be no chance of visitation enforced by the law. Your ex-spouse may be able to allow it, but that is unlikely.

Are you going through a divorce and don't want to pay child support for children that are not your own? Contact us today to see what we can do for your case.


Forwarding Thinking in Your Divorce - Child Support Considerations

Friday, March 09, 2018

It has come down to this - all options have been explored and you have finally come to terms with the fact that you are getting a divorce. Amid the emotional stress and legal decisions, sometimes it is difficult to look at the long-term needs of your children, especially when you are overwhelmed with parenting plans, visitation schedules, financial support, and even more immediate details such as where you intend to live or how you plan to pay your bills. It is easy to get caught up in the here and now without considering what your children might require in the future. This is especially true for parents of young children who have not yet begun writing the endless stream of checks required for the activities for children in middle school or high school. 

What do you consider to be necessary for raising a healthy, educated, balanced child? Often times in a divorce, parents do not consider these questions with regard to when their children are older. Do you believe participation in athletics, music lessons, travel, mission work, or academic competitions are activities that your children need to prepare themselves for adulthood? What about the expenses associated with taking Advanced Placement Exams or even Dual Credit courses offered in high school? Do you want trade school or college to be an option for your children after they graduate from high school? If so, who is going to foot the bill for these expensive but enriching experiences? Perhaps you do not consider all of these activities to be central to the development of your children, and that is certainly reasonable, but if even some of them seem relevant to your expectations on what opportunities your children should have, it is important to consider them now. 

Addressing these issues on the front end, when parties may be more agreeable to reasonable solutions, can save you a great deal of arguing, disappointment, or future court proceedings. While you are establishing a parenting plan and the terms of child support, it is important to be forward thinking and to include terms that address these needs. Preparedness on the front end can save you time and expense on the back end, and consolation with an attorney is certainly advised. The attorneys at Jamra & Jamra are available to advise you on these and other considerations in your divorce. Please contact us today if you are ready to protect your children's future opportunities.  


Does Child Support Include College Education?

Friday, January 19, 2018

In many cases, child support is seen as a way for the custodial parent to better care for their child after divorce. It helps with various expenses that come with raising a child. However, when getting a divorce with older children, the custodial parent may wonder if child support should include expenses such as college education.

In truth, child support can include payments for college education. However, when children are young and their parents are getting a divorce, often the courts will leave the issue of who pays for college until the child is older. This is often done because circumstances can greatly change over that time period and the courts do not know if or what kind of college that child will pursue.

However, once that age has come, both parents may need to return to court to discuss the issue of tuition. Unlike child support payments, both parents will be expected to pay their fair share of a child's tuition. This means if your ex-spouse has attained a higher paying job since child support started, they may be expected to pay more towards college expenses. However, even the custodial parent will need to pay a share as well. Issues factored in to this include what sort of education the child is pursuing, their academic record, and any financial aid they are receiving, such as scholarships. Depending on these factors, the parents may have to pay more or less, but the amount will be split regardless.

If you are pursuing a divorce with older children, their college education is undoubtedly a worry. If you want to talk through your divorce and child support options, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do for you.


What You Should Know About Child Custody

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Are you about to be embroiled in a child custody battle? Being granted custody of your child isn't a straightforward process, and it could play out in any number of ways depending on the decisions that you make. Here are some of the aspects surrounding child custody law that you should consider: 

Mutual agreement via Mediation

Keep in mind that spending any length of time in court is going to cost you. So it's always a good idea to attempt mediation and try to resolve the issue of custody with your former partner and his or her attorneys. However, it's also worth noting that these negotiations don't have to be formal. You and your former partner could meet at a coffee shop and have a calm, rational discussion about visitation rights, who the child should live with, child support, etc. If that fails, you could proceed to formal negotiations featuring attorneys from both sides and a licensed mediator. The mediator might be able to find points of reconciliation that weren't able to be reached prior to professional intervention. 

Child Custody Battles Outside of Marriage 

If the parents are unmarried, the mother will typically be awarded custody by the courts. While the law usually grants custody to the mother, the father still has the right to pursue visitation rights. The good news is that the lack of a marital bond means unpleasant legal entanglements such as child support or property disputes are rendered a non-issue.

Not the Parent?

In some cases, child custody disputes can arise between a relative who isn't the biological parent of the child and an absent parent. If this is your situation, you'll have to submit a "non-parent custody petition" to the courts, which requires details such as relationship to the child, reasons for the custody request, as well as the status of the parents. 

Please, contact us for more information. 


You Can Get Help Collecting Child Support

Friday, November 03, 2017

Custodial parents sometimes find it difficult to collect the child support they need to take care of their children, child support that was court ordered. Help is available.

Child support payments are not voluntary. They are ordered by a court during child custody hearings. These cases may be part of a divorce, separation, or a paternity determination. Child support is usually paid by income withholding from employment. If child support is in arrears or unpaid, additional measures can be imposed to collect it.

Passports can be denied or seized if more than $2500 in unpaid support is owed. 

Federal and state income tax refunds may be offset by the child support debt.

Child support orders cross state lines. States communicate with one another about scofflaws of child support. Orders are enforceable across state lines.

Child support payments that are in arrears are often reported to credit bureaus.

States can fail to renew drivers or business licenses for those in arrears on child support. Their licenses can also be suspended.

Unemployment, Social Security, and retirement payments can be garnished. Military pay can also be garnished. Liens can be placed on property held by the person owing back child support.

Some payments are not subject to garnishment. These include Veterans disability payments, some Social Security payments such as Supplemental Security Income(SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) as well as student loans.

Payments in arrears may or may not be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding. There are different circumstances regarding debts under bankruptcy laws. Child support payments are not usually forgiven. It is a valid debt.

Modification of child support orders is possible if circumstances change. Either a custodial or non-custodial parent can ask the court for a modification. Significant changes in the financial situation for either parent may qualify for a modification, either to increase or decrease support payments.

Contact our firm for any issues regarding paying or collecting child support. We are here to help.

Do You Have the Right to Parenting Time?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Once referred to as visitation, parenting time is the time a parent spends with a child after the parents have separated. While parenting time doesn’t matter if you have been named the custodial parent, typically it is used to describe the time the noncustodial parent spends with their child. However, do you actually have a right to parenting time?

Parenting time is not a right, so you do not automatically have the right to see your child if you are not the custodial parent. The court decides if parenting time is in the best interests of the child, but will typically grant at least some parenting time unless the noncustodial parent has a history of harm or abuse to the child or others.

Once parenting time has been granted, unless abuse starts to show itself, it is difficult to have parenting time taken away. Even if the noncustodial parent fails to pay child support, the court cannot take away your parenting time, but you may face other consequences.

If you are trying to get the maximum amount of parenting time with your child, one of the main things that the court will look at is your history with the child. It is best to write down what sort of relationship you have had, how much time you previously spent with the child, and how much of that time included overnights.

If you are in the process of a separation and are trying to get custody or parenting time with your child in the Los Angeles area, contact a Los Angeles child support lawyer today.

Obama Administration Family Law Changes Affect Child Support

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Many divorced parents who have child support obligations may have found themselves facing difficulties making their payments. As a result, they may have fallen behind on their support and ended up incarcerated as an outcome. This type of family law situation is not uncommon, and it can often lead to a vicious cycle.

When many parents are in jail, they lack the ability to effectively make their payments, which only leads to their falling further behind. In turn, after their releases, they may return home only to find themselves potentially on their way to being locked up again due to having been unable to make their support payments regularly while incarcerated.

According to recent reports, in order to address this issue, President Obama's administration has made changes to child support rules that may help parents in such a predicament. These rules would supersede state law and require that states examine the true circumstances of each case when it comes to potentially allowing for support modifications. In many cases, incarceration is considered "voluntary unemployment," and this classification makes it nearly impossible for individuals to pursue more manageable support amounts while in jail. 

By having incarceration not deemed voluntary unemployment, individuals may be able to seek a lower support payments. As a result, they may be better able to make their payments while in jail or at least have the opportunity to not fall as far behind.

These child support rule changes could affect many California parents who have found themselves facing such predicaments. Individuals who are interested in how these rules could potentially affect their circumstances or who would like more information on child support modifications in general may wish to consult with experienced Beverly Hills family law attorney

Can a Divorce Include a Clause Negating Child Support Obligations?

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Is it possible, at the time of the divorce, to include a clause in the divorce contract whereas one parent is absolved, with the agreement and consent of the other parent, of child support obligations?

The first thing to know is that child support is something obligated by law -- parents must support their children, even if they are not currently married to the other parent. Child support obligations do not stem from divorce contracts and agreements.

This law is in place to ensure that children are adequately taken care of. It also is in the government’s best interests not to have too many welfare recipients.

Usually, clauses negating child support obligations will not be recognized by the courts. Unless you are able to prove that this clause is, in fact, in the child’s best interests, it will generally have no legal standing.

It goes even further. If there was a clause under which one parent paid a lump sum for the child’s needs, instead of having to pay monthly payments, and the money was squandered by the other parent who has custody of the child and the child now needs financial assistance, the first parent may have to start paying again for child support. This is because child support obligations are in place to benefit the child, and a parent's self-interest has no bearing on the issue, unless the parent is financially unable to support the child.

Child support laws are extremely complex. If you are considering a clause in your divorce contract concerning child support, it is best to contact a lawyer for legal help.