Establishment of New Support Orders
A noncustodial parent must be personally served with a Summons & Complaint or Petition for child support. The Summons will provide instructions on how to request a court hearing. Noncustodial parents have 2 options once served with this civil action: contact the CSE agency to voluntarily Stipulate to a child support amount, or if you don’t agree to the amount or dispute paternity, the noncustodial parent must file an Answer with the court. He or she has 30 days to do one or the other. If a noncustodial parent fails to act within 30 days, he or she is subject to a Default Judgment.
Noncustodial parents should NEVER allow a Default Judgment. Yet thousands of default judgments are filed every day throughout the country. It is very difficult and expensive to reverse a Default Judgment once it is entered so if there is any doubt on the amount of child support, or in paternity, you need to file an Answer with the court within the 30 day time frame allowed.
Child support guidelines vary from state to state. But generally the criteria for establishing child support amounts is typical throughout the United States and these guidelines are established by each state’s legislature. The amount is determined by each parent’s net income including allowable deductions. These generally are:
Noncustodial parents must provide health insurance coverage for the children if it is requested by the custodial parent, if the child is on Medi-Cal or MediCaid, and if it is available to the noncustodial parent through his or her employer or at a reasonable cost. Any uncovered medical or dental expenses are usually ordered to be paid equally by each party. CSE agencies also have the ability to "impute" or "presume" income on the noncustodial parent if they do not have actual verified income information in the case file. Noncustodial parents need to be aware of this as a Default Judgment may set an amount of child support that is not in accordance with the actual income and does not include any allowable deductions. Another reason you should never allow a Default Judgment.
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FAIR AND REASONABLE -- Courts will approve child support arrangements they deem "fair and reasonable,” so the amount that the state guidelines produce will not necessarily be the amount awarded by the court.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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