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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How is child support determined?

A: Each state has child support guidelines that are used as the foundation for determining the amount of child support owed. While guidelines vary from state to state, courts setting child support orders will generally follow the amount suggested by the guidelines unless exceptional circumstances exist - such as a child requiring extensive medical treatment. Most guidelines factor in the needs of the child, the relative ability of each parent to pay support and the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the parents had remained together.

Q: Can I get child support if I never married my child's father?

A: Yes. Parents owe a duty to support their children not because they were married and divorced, but because they parented a child. You can work with an experienced family law attorney and/or your state's Child Support Enforcement office to obtain a support order. Since you were not married, you will have to prove paternity before a support order may be enforced.

Q: Do mothers have to pay child support when fathers have custody?

A: Yes. The child support guidelines make no distinction based on the gender of the custodial parent. Even when joint or shared custody exists, some states weigh the relative earning capacity of each parent and order support accordingly.

Q: I make more money than my ex-spouse. Am I still entitled to child support if I have custody?

A: In most cases the answer is yes, even if examination of the relative income and assets of both spouses results in the setting of a small or nominal amount. Both parents owe a duty to support their children and this duty is not eliminated because the custodial parent has a greater income than the non-custodial parent.

Q: What measures exist to ensure that a child will receive court-ordered child support?

A: Child support laws allow you to have immediate wage withholding included in your child support order. Wage withholding, as with other payroll deductions like for insurance or taxes, are automatically subtracted from the paying parent's wages by their employer and paid directly to you or your state's child support registry. Wage withholding will be included in your support order unless you and your child's other parent agree otherwise or there is good cause for an exception. If wage withholding is not possible or insufficient, an experienced family law attorney or the Child Support Enforcement office in your state will have other means available to enforce the support order.
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Law Offices of
Sheryl McDonnell
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Practices exclusively
in all areas of family
law, including:
The Law Offices of Sheryl McDonnell is located in Riverside, California and serves clients throughout Riverside County and San Bernardino County, including Temecula, Hemet, Corona, Mira Loma, San Bernardino, Perris, Lake Elsinore, Murrieta, Moreno Valley, Redlands, and the Inland Empire, CA.
Restraining Orders
Plus others