The Initial Child Support Order

Take two Orange County parents with an annual salary and an agreed upon percentage of time with their children and child support takes about 5 minutes to calculate. Take those same two parents and make one of them self employed, add a dispute regarding income and a disagreement about custody and that 5 minutes becomes months or years and more attorney’s fees than you can afford, right? Not necessarily.

Look, there are some child support cases, a very small percentage, that will be long and expensive court battles because one or both parents is involved in an elaborate scheme to hide his or her income. For the other 99% of the cases, child support doesn’t have to be a war. Farzad Family Law’s experience and knowledge can avoid the long court battles and bring your Orange County child support case to a successful conclusion, whether you are the one who is requesting support or the one potentially paying it.

The first thing we look at is the percentage of time each parent spends with the child. I am surprised how many lawyers struggle to explain this simple concept to their clients. There are 24 hours in the day. There are 7 days in a week, and 52 weeks in a year. If you and the other parent do not agree on your time share with the child, then you simply take your custody and visitation schedule over a week or month and count the hours. So long as you have a set schedule, this should take little time and Farzad Family Law uses a chart that shows the hours and percentage of the most common visitation schedules.

Next, you look at income. If it is predictable, it is easy. Whether the parent paying support is salary, hourly or commission based, the Year To Date earnings are generally a good indication of income. If there are wild fluctuations in income, then a more in depth calculation can be done to account for expected bonuses or dips and child support can be adjusted accordingly. Even self employment income doesn’t have to make a child support calculation complicated. Tax returns, profit and loss statements, a review of bank statements and a business’ financial records often tell the story of income enough to calculate support. One rule of thumb to keep in mind is only the Federal Government can spend more money than it brings in. Therefore, unless a person is living on their life savings or loans, the amount of money a person spends is often an indication of how much he or she earns.

The remaining child support factors such as who is head of household, whether there are mortgage interest and property tax deductions, who pays for the child’s health insurance, child care costs and whether there are any hardship deductions are entered into the child support calculation program and you get a “guideline” child support amount which is presumed to be correct.

At Farzad Family Law we use our knowledge and experience in child support matters to teach our Orange County clients what their reasonable expectations should be and what the expected fees and costs may be by the time the child support case is resolved. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Of course, if you have a complex Orange County child support matter that you believe will involve significant time, we will at the outset prepare a strategy and budget for you, so you have a reasonable set of expectations going forward.

Call or email us today for an evaluation of your Orange County child support matter. Whether it is part of a pending divorce or paternity matter or post judgment, we will find solutions together.

Warmest Regards,

B. Robert Farzad
Orange County Divorce & Family Law Attorneys
1851 E. 1st Street, Suite 1150
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Telephone: (714) 937-1193
Facsimile: (714) 937-1192

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