Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Obtaining a child support order in California

Orange County residents would agree that the money a custodial parent receives from the supporting parent in the form of child support is critical to the various financial needs of the child. Therefore, child support is one of the most important issues that parents need to address after separating. Understanding California's child support guidelines is a must in that situation.

The first step toward obtaining child support requires a custodial parent to approach the court or the local child support agency. However, the type of case depends on whether the parents are married or registered domestic partners. A victim of domestic violence, whether married or unmarried, can also file a petition for child support along with a request for a restraining order. That is how the process of obtaining child support starts.

If a custodial parent is married to the other parent or if that parent is registered as a domestic partner of the other parent, a child support petition can be filed either through the court or through the local child support agency. However, in the event that the parents are not married and are not registered as domestic partners, paternity has to be established before child support can be established.

In the event that an open case for child support exists, the custodial parent can visit the local child support agency and complete the appropriate forms. The forms are reviewed by a facilitator or a lawyer and then the forms are submitted to the court clerk in order to obtain a court date. It is advisable for a custodial parent to retain at least two copies of the form for future reference.

In California, parents also have the option of mutually agreeing on a child support arrangement and getting the court's approval to make it an official child support order. This can be a wise option to choose because parents do not have to go to court and put additional stress on an already-difficult relationship with a former spouse or domestic partner. In that case, however, parents need to have a deep understanding of California's child support guidelines.

Source: California Courts, "Asking for a Child Support Order," Accessed on Oct. 23, 2014

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