Support may be ordered to be paid by either or both parties, and is decided based on a comparison of their net income. Child support is determined based on the best interests of the child or children, and generally lasts until the age of 18. Child support is calculated based on:
The earning capacity of each parent, the number of children, how much time the children spend with each parent, child care expenses.
Mainly in California the amount of child support is determined by a complicated formula called “guideline” and is somehow confusing; however, we will explain it to you in detail and run a program for you to know, in advance, what the amount should be given your specific situation, even before going to court.
The parents can also agree on a different amount not based on the guideline; the court will generally approve if the agreement is in the best interests of the children.
Our Firm is here to help you.
The first hearing will normally occur within twenty-five (25) days of the date the OSC pleadings are filed with the court.
At this hearing, the attorneys will argue the case and the courts may take testimony at this time.
If there are custody and/or visitation disputes, they are now referred by the Court for mandatory counseling at "Mediation" (within the Courthouse) prior to the Court hearing. If an Order to Show Cause is filed on your behalf, a copy will be given to you. Please note the date set for mediation and the hearing and immediately call to confirm your presence at both scheduled dates. Both dates are mandatory, and you must appear for these dates or the Court can order sanctions, fines or make other orders against you.
The third step involved in a dissolution of marriage is generally the discovery phase. Each side will send out a pleading called an income and expense declaration as well as a schedule of assets and debts. After review it may become clear if the parties have financial issues that need to be resolved or if it is possible to settle the case without future litigation.
After this review, many times subpoenas are sent out to verify the information provided by the parties. By the time the first three steps are completed, the emotional involvement of the parties has generally subsided to the level where many cases are in fact resolved by settlement. We will then formulate a settlement offer for the purpose of resolving the case in total. Please be assured that no offer of settlement will be made without your knowledge. If the settlement offer is accepted or amendments thereto are agreeable to all parties, a settlement agreement will be prepared. This document essentially indicates which assets and debts will be allocated to the wife and which assets and debts will be allocated to the husband. It will also address the issues of custody and visitation, together with support and all other matters. Once the settlement agreement is signed by both parties and their attorneys, it is filed with the Superior Court to be signed by the judge.
If the matter cannot be resolved by stipulation, it will proceed to the fourth step, which is trial. Prior to trial there will be a Mandatory Settlement Conference and the parties will meet with a settlement judge or an experienced family law attorney that will try and settle the case. If the matter is not resolved, the case will proceed to trial, usually within forty-five (45) days of the Mandatory Settlement Conference.