Common Myths About Child Support in CA


Child support laws are complex and often misunderstood. Several myths circulate around this topic, leading to misconceptions that can impact the decisions and opinions of parents and guardians. This article seeks to debunk some of these myths by presenting accurate information about child support in California

Myth: Only Mothers Receive Child Support 

Truth: Child Support Offers Support to Parents Regardless of Gender 

Contrary to popular belief, child support is not exclusive to mothers. The purpose of child support is to ensure the financial stability of the child, regardless of the custodial parent's gender. In California, fathers can also receive child support if they are primary caregivers. 

Myth: Child Support Payments Are Set in Stone 

Truth: Child Support Can Be Modified  

While California does have child support guidelines, they are not absolute. Judges retain the discretion to adjust the amount based on factors such as the child's needs, the paying parent's ability to pay, and the lifestyle the child would have had if the parents were together. 

Myth: Child Support Ends at Age 18 

Truth: Child Support can Be Extended in Certain Cases 

In California, child support does not necessarily end when the child turns 18. If the child is still a full-time high school student and lives with a parent, child support continues until the child finishes high school or turns 19, whichever occurs first. Child support payments can also be extended if a child has special needs.  

Myth: Child Support Payments Are Based Solely on the Child's Needs 

Truth: Child Support Is Calculated Using a Formula 

While the child's needs are a significant factor, the calculation of child support in California involves a complex formula. This formula considers several elements, including both parents' income, the percentage of time the child spends with each parent, and certain expenses related to the child. 

Myth: You Don't Have to Pay for Health Insurance if You Pay Child Support 

Truth: Child Support Is Independent of Insurance Payments  

In California, the responsibility of maintaining health insurance for the child is separate from child support payments. Depending on the court's decision, a parent paying child support may also be required to provide health insurance for the child. However, a payor cannot require the other party to use child support to cover insurance payments.  

Myth: Custody & Visitation Can Be Withheld If Payments Are Missed 

Truth: Child Custody Cannot Be Denied Because of Missed Payments  

There's a common misconception that child support is tied to custody and visitation rights. However, in California, these are separate issues. A parent cannot be denied visitation rights because they failed to pay child support, nor can they refuse to pay child support if they are denied visitation. 

Myth: Child Support Arrears Disappear When You File for Bankruptcy 

Truth: Filing for Bankruptcy Erases Debts But Not Child Support Debt 

Filing for bankruptcy is often seen as a fresh start, a way to erase past debts and move forward. However, it's critical to understand that not all debts are dischargeable under U.S. bankruptcy law, and child support debt is one of them. 

Talk with Our Child Support Attorneys

The Neshanian Law Firm, Inc can help you with a variety of child support needs, including:  

  • Initial adjudications  

  • Modifications  

  • Child support settlement negotiations  

  • Mediation  

Call (949) 577-7935 to discuss your case with our team.  

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