In my 35 years as a family law attorney, I have encountered many questions from residents of Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village about divorce, child custody and other family law challenges. On this page, we have provided answers to some of the most common questions we receive. Of course, every case is different. For help assessing your specific case, please take advantage of our free consultations by calling 818-237-4574.
1. What is public information about my case?
Your child support case information is confidential. These records are not open to the public. However, in California court files and county recorder files are public records.
2. What types of income are included when determining child support?
A salary or hourly wage, self-employment income and income from rental units are always considered. But other forms of income can be counted as well. These include but are not limited to:
- Tips, commissions and bonuses
- Unemployment benefits
- Disability and workers' compensation
- Investment gains, including interest and dividends
- Social Security or pensions
3. If I win a grand prize or the lottery, is that considered income?
When it comes to child support in California, yes.
4. Do children need health insurance in child support cases?
In California, yes. Health insurance is required in any child support order.
5. What happens when one spouse remarries and has another family?
Typically the amount of child support will decrease. You will have to go through the court process to make any changes to your payments, however.
6. I lost my job, do I still have to pay child support?
You will have to go through the court process to make any changes to your child support order. In California, even if one parent is incarcerated, that parent is often still responsible for paying child support.
7. Who can request a modification?
Either parent may request a modification when there is a significant change in circumstances. Support orders may be changed if there is:
- A significant change in earnings — either an increase in income such as a new job or promotion, or decrease in income such as a job loss or health condition.
- A change in custody
- A significant change in parenting time — either an increase or decrease in parenting time.
It is important to have knowledgeable legal guidance. If you have grounds for a modification, speak to me. As your attorney, I can make all necessary filings with the court. I will also negotiate on your behalf and vigorously protect your rights and interests at any necessary hearings.
8. How much discretion does a judge have?
This is a good question. A judge does have quite a bit of latitude when making custody orders. This is why anytime you make a request or modification, you need to make a strong case for your request.
9. What is parental bonding?
Parental bonding is something that judges consider when making custody decisions. If, for example, you are a stay-at-home dad with a one year old and the mother travels over 60 hours a week, then the child will most likely have a stronger bond with you, the father. The mother will have to agree to make adjustments to her travel schedule in order to have "quality" time with her child and obtain equal custody.
10. Does domestic violence affect custody?
In every case, yes. Speak to a family law lawyer or specialist if there is a history of domestic violence in your relationship.
We Are Here To Help
Schedule a free consultation to learn how our team can provide child support information, calculation and guidance. Call our Westlake Village law office at 818-237-4574. You may also contact us by email, and we will be in touch promptly. We serve Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and all of Ventura County.