When two spouses become embroiled in a divorce they often put their children on the “back burner,” turning instead to their own personal crises inherent in this kind of a life-changing event. The spouses often devote their attention to hiding and minimizing assets and looking for ways to “get back at” the other spouse. One of the things that bring children squarely into the fray all too often, however, is the issue of is child support. Child support, as its name implies, is a means of providing money from the higher earning parent to the lower earning parent in order to provide for the necessities of life (and other items as well) for the benefit of the minor children. Under California law, parents are required to continue providing financially for their children both during and following a divorce. Children are, after all, dependents of their parents, regardless of whether the parents are married or divorced. As such, both parents are legally responsible for providing for their children’s welfare. In the case of a divorce, the clearest way to provide for a child’s financial welfare is through a child support order, as this calls for the payment of money on the child’s behalf. This leads to the concept of child support, payments that help to support a child during and following divorce.
The amount of child support that a parent must pay is determined in California by an algebraic formula that takes into account the parent’s income each month, the time the child spends with each parent, and other statutorily imposed factors. As “income” can be a broad term, courts consider all potential sources of income from property, money payments, and services rendered. Courts also determine child support by looking at how long a child spends with each parent during a given month. A parent who spends more time with a child than their spouse does may not be required to pay as much child support. The logic here is that the parent is contributing more to the child’s financial welfare than their spouse is already just by virtue of the amount of time they spend with them. The spouse must therefore pay a greater amount of child support to make up for their absence in the child’s life. This is the right thing to do, both legally, and morally to ensure that children are not forgotten in a divorce.