Child Support formulas–Just the facts

There is an interesting posting by about Massachusetts’ new Child Support  Guidelines.  The post/article provides a good general overview of the “big issues” involved with the philosophical/political underpinning of Child Support … In California the statewide guidelines for Child Support can be found in. Legal commentators have said that the California Child Support guidelines are so complicated that the average person could not figure out their support exposure without some type of professional assistance.  You could debate for hours the concept of child support and the appropriateness of any Guidelines.  But for the vast majority of divorcing parents (and parents involved in Paternity actions) what they need is a practical understanding of how the Courts will implement the Child Support guidelines in their particular case. That is something I try to provide to all my clients. As with most things in Family Law — Child Support is fact driven.

Do I still have to pay child support if I am not the child’s bio dad?

In California, generally no (there are situations—such as adoption by estoppel where a non-bio dad may be stuck with a Child Support Order, but that is for a different post). However, ones there has been a Judgment of Paternity, even having a DNA test that clearly “0pps you out” as the child’s father is not a perennial get out jail card that you can use at any time.  California Family Code §7645 provides  very specific time periods for when a motion to set aside a Judgment for Paternity has to be made.  Remember  a very simple rule–if you are served with a Complaint to Establish Parentage and for Child Support from  DCSS— DO NOT BLOW IT OFF!!!…That is the time to get some legal representation so that the situation can be handled and that you don’t wind up with an arrears order for Child Support that is impossible to ever pay down, and the child may not even be yours!!! The recent case of San Mateo County Department of Child Support Services v. Clark (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 834, 85 Cal.Rptr.3d 763 discussed things you can do in furtherance of a motion pursuant to Family Code §7645( i.e. using a deposition subpoena to compel genetic testing)…but its preferable not to have to even go there by addressing the matter before it ever gets to a Judgment.

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