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In family law, and under government policy, child support is the ongoing obligation for a periodic payment normally made by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent for the care and support of children of a relationship or of a marriage that has been terminated.
Child support is calculated by a statewide "guideline" that takes into account the income or earning ability of each parent, the approximate amount of time the children are in the custody and care of each parent, and certain legally recognized deductions such as health insurance and day care costs. Child support awards are always modifiable as long as the children are under the jurisdiction of the court (usually until they reach the age of eighteen (18) years).
In all legal matters concerning child custody and visitation the main consideration will always be: "What is in the best interest of the child(ren)?" Courts universally recognize that after a divorce or separation, both parents have a duty to provide for the well-being of their child(ren).
In deciding which parent will have custody and when visitation will be allowed, the court has two goals: 1) to allow each parent to maintain a relationship with the child(ren) and, 2) to require each parent to contribute to the care and upbringing of their children.
The parent who has custody is called the custodial parent. He or she provides the everyday care and maintenance. The parent who does not have physical custody of the child(ren) is called the non-custodial parent. He or she usually will be allowed reasonable rights of visitation with the children.
When your family is undergoing changes, you want to explore all your legal options and come up with a plan tailored to fit your needs. At the DE LA PENA LAW OFFICE, we are here to help you with anything having to do with the dissolution of your marriage or any other legal challenges facing your family. From child support modifications to adoptions or juvenile delinquency proceedings, we will help you understand your rights and your options.No matter what type of legal problem your family faces, you will have countless questions for your attorney. For this reason, we promise to be at your side every step of the way. It is our job to keep you informed and fully aware of what is happening in your case so that you can make the decisions that work best for your family.
A divorce or dissolution of marriage is the ending of a marriage before the death of either spouse. Once an action for dissolution has been filed, a legal determination must be made that covers custody and visitation of any minor children of the parties, child support, spousal support and property division. The terms of the divorce can be agreed upon between the parties and their attorneys, or, if an agreement cannot be reached, the terms will be determined by the court. Ideally, both parties will have competent and caring attorneys who will effectively and efficiently represent their clients. This often means attempting to resolve issues outside of court, or by way of agreement, and avoiding "in court" litigation if possible, which is stressful and expensive.
Legal Separation is similar to a divorce in that orders for custody, visitation, support and property division can be made by the court. At the conclusion of a legal separation, the parties have no further liability for the acts or debts of the other, are not entitled to any share of the accumulation of assets of the others, and remain lawfully married, despite the length of their actual separation. A legal separation cannot be granted by the court if either party objects, so this is not a good strategy to be used by a victim of domestic violence.
Property Division is often as large a part of a dissolution action as is custody and support. In cases with substantial assets, it is common for one or both parties to investigate the income, properties and assets of the other. Hiding or minimizing assets is often common, although a good attorney can utilize the laws contained in the Family Law Code to discover community assets and debts, as well as discover the true income made, or able to be made, by the opposing spouse. It is essential that a comprehensive inquiry into these matters be made by the attorney for the benefit of their client, and to also later enable their client to invoke various remedies, some severe, against a spouse who was not forthright, or was dishonest, during the dissolution.