Under California law, both parents are expected to financially support
their children whether they are married to each other or not. If two parents
break up, legally separate, or divorce, the court will order one or both
parents to pay
child support every month depending on where the child is living.
Child support goes toward helping pay the child’s expenses, such
as food, clothing, and shelter. Either parent can request child support,
or it can also be requested by someone else who has physical or legal
custody of the child.
There are different ways that someone can ask the court to order child
support, for example, through a
paternity case, a
legal separation or
domestic violence case, or a parent can go to court asking for child support alone.
The following is a list of frequently asked questions about child support
Q. Can a mother ask for child support if she was never married to the father?
A. Yes, but paternity has to be established first.
Q. Who can ask for child support?
A. Either parent can ask for child support, but usually the noncustodial
parent pays child support to the custodial parent.
Q. Can my ex and I agree on a child support amount?
A. This is possible, however, your agreement will have to be approved
of by a judicial officer.
Q. How long will I be required to pay child support?
A. Parents are legally obligated to support their children until they
turn 18, and have graduated from high school, or until their child turns
19, whichever happens first.
Q. Can child support be lowered or raised?
A. The paying and receiving parent both have the right to request a modification
to the child support payments, however, they have to show that there has
been a significant change in circumstances.
Q. Can I stop paying child support if my ex doesn’t let me see my children?
A. No, you cannot stop paying child support because your ex won’t
allow you to see your children. If you stop paying child support, your
arrears will continue to accrue, and you will owe 10% per a year on the
If your ex is not letting you see your children, this is not okay. You
can contact our office to see what legal steps should be taken to remedy
Q. Can a parent be obligated to pay support if they are unemployed?
A. If a parent is unemployed, the court can still order that he or she
pays an amount that’s consistent with what the court thinks that
the parent is capable of earning – this is called the parent’s
Do you need assistance with a child support matter in the Greater Los Angeles
Area? If so, we encourage you to
contact Claery & Hammond, LLPfor a free consultation.