Thursday, October 4, 2007
Establishing a California Child Support Order
.In order to establish a child support, you must first file a lawsuit. This can either be a divorce, a paternity suit, or a legal separation. At the same time a lawsuit is filed, you file an Order to Show Cause, as well. An Order to Show Cause is basically an appointment to see the judge so that you can request the court make orders on your behalf. In this case, you will be requesting the court issue orders for child support at the hearing. Along with the Order to Show Cause, you must file financial documentation indicating how much money you make. This is done by filing a court form called either a Financial Declaration or an Income and Expense Declaration. Along with the form, you must provide the court with your last three paycheck stubs or a Profit and Loss Statement if you are self-employed. You should also have your state and federal tax returns available at the hearing (do not attach your tax returns to the paperwork or they will become public record). Both the initial lawsuit and the Order to Show Cause will cost money to file. This is called a filing fee. The filing fee is money that goes directly to the court to help the county offset the cost of paying its court staff to process your case. As soon as you file the Order to Show Cause you will receive a court date. This is generally six to eight weeks away. You must then serve the other party. Generally speaking, the Order to Show Cause need only be served by mail-- but beware, the underlying lawsuit must be personally served. Contact a family law attorney for more details. At the court date, the judge will make a court order for guideline child support. This number is based upon a mathematical formula and is usually determined with the help of a computer program. Guideline child support is based upon the number of children you have together, how much time each party spends with the children, each party's tax filing status, each party's income, and a number of other items. Once you receive the child support order, you must then enforce it. This is done by filing a Wage Assignment with the court, and then serving it upon the payor's employer. A Wage Assignment is a court order requiring the employer to directly deduct child support from the payor's paycheck. Child support is then sent directly to you from the employer.