San Bernardino Child Support Lawyer


The child support process may be the most difficult part of child custody and divorce issues. You want what’s ideal for your children, and you want a fair outcome in San Bernardino, CA. However, it can be difficult to feel confident that those things are the real outcome of what’s unfolding through the child support process. If you are frustrated by your current child support situation or what you see coming in that area in the future, the most favorable thing you can have is a quality family law attorney on your side. You want someone who will be fair and honest with you and push for the same in your child support order. At the Edgar & Dow, we can do that for you.

San Bernardino Child Support Lawyer


In California, while the final child support decision is made by a judge, a major factor in the decision is a recommended guideline provided by a complex mathematical formula. The guiding principle behind this formula is to create a balance between the disparity of income and the disparity of timeshare. Generally, the parent with the greater income can expect to pay child support. Similarly, the parent who spends a lesser share of time with the child can expect to pay child support.

These two concerns are balanced against each other. So, if Parent A has a higher income and has a lesser share of time with the child than Parent B, it is very likely that Parent A will end up owing child support to Parent B. However, If Parent A has a higher income and a greater timeshare than Parent B, then without running the specifics through the formula, we would have no way of knowing if or to who child support would be owed. This also means that even when the share of time is 50-50, the disparity in income can still lead to support being paid from one party to the other.


The formula for calculating child support is complex, and usually, people rely on computer software to figure out the calculation. That said, we know the components of what goes into the calculation, which include:

  • The tax-filing status of both parents
  • The average monthly income of both parents
  • The number of children the parents have together
  • Health insurances premiums that either or both parents pay
  • Any union dues that either or both parents are required to pay
  • Any retirement contributions that either or both parents are required to pay
  • Any other court-ordered child support that either or both parents pay for children from prior relationships


The state of California requires the addition of a couple of other forms of child support to be added to the base guidelines when applicable.

The first mandatory item is uninsured health care expenses. The typical split for any reasonable medical, dental, or vision-related bills that aren’t covered by insurance is a 50-50 split. That said, the court may order whatever allocation it believes serves the child. Not making these additional payments is treated the same as not paying child support.

The second additional item is childcare costs. Childcare that is related to employment or reasonably necessary education or training for employment skills must be added to the child support. Again, the Court can decide whatever allocation it sees fit, although it usually relies on a 50-50 split of these costs.


The court can also make certain discretionary additions to the child support order. In most cases, these stand a better chance if they were something the child was participating in prior to filing for child support. These discretionary add-ons include:

  • Private school – Some or all of the costs of attending a private school may be added to the child support.
  • Extracurricular activities – This can cover things like athletic leagues and classes, as well as the equipment needed for participation.
  • Travel Expenses – When either the custodial parent or non-custodial parent has to travel a greater than normal distance to pick up or visit with the child, the court may factor reimbursement for those expenses in their child support assessment.


A judge will order both an amount and a starting date for child support payments. Typically, an Income Withholding Order will tell your employer to take support payments from your paycheck. The employer will then send that money to the State Disbursement Unit (SDU). From there, the SDU will be the one who sends it out to the recipient.

It may take some time for your employer to receive the order, but when your employer first receives the Income Withholding Order, they have ten days before they are required to make the deductions from your paycheck. This means it may take a little while before the child support is sent over automatically. If your date to pay child support falls before that process begins, you are responsible for making those payments yourself.

There are a number of ways people choose to pay if your order does not include an Income Withholding Order, even including checks or cash. However, it is important to be very careful with any payment method outside of working with the SDU. It’s very easy to lose a record of what has and hasn’t been paid. The party receiving child support may attempt to claim it hasn’t been paid if there isn’t a good record. However, some divorce agreements work out alternative payment methods. Just make sure you listen to your attorney’s advice so you don’t end up having to overpay.


Modifying child support is something that can occur but must be petitioned before the court. If the current payment is under the guideline, a file to modify the support can be made at any time. If the current payment is over the guideline, a petition can only be made if there has been a significant change of circumstances, which includes:

  • A change in either parent’s net income
  • A change in the timeshare percentage
  • A change in expenses related to the child
  • A failure to comply with a seek work order
  • Incarceration of a parent


Not paying child support can be a serious issue with significant consequences. These can include:

  • Mandatory wage withholding
  • Property liens
  • Loss of a license
  • Frozen bank accounts
  • Denial of a tax refund – the money then used to pay owed child support
  • Credit reporting
  • Revocation of a passport
  • Civil warrants – could include jail time of less than a year
  • Criminal warrants – could include jail time of longer than a year


Q: How Do I Fight Child Support in California?

A: There are a few different ways that a child support order can be challenged in California. Sometimes an appeal process might be an appropriate option, and other times a motion for reconsideration may prove to be a better approach. However, choosing between these and other options is subject to the particulars of the case. We can look at the circumstances of your situation and help you figure out what plan may be the most favorable option for you.

Q: How Much Do You Have to Owe in Child Support To Go to Jail in California?

A: Usually, jail time is the last resort for unpaid child support and would require you to be significantly behind and owe a large sum. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t severe consequences prior to resorting to jail time. Some of these consequences include:

  • Wage withholding
  • A property lien
  • Frozen bank accounts
  • Fines
  • Loss of license
  • Denial of tax refund
  • Revocation of passport

Q: What Factors Determine Child Support Costs in California?

A: In California, a guideline for child support is calculated by a formal guideline. Judges tend to rely on the guideline; however, they do have the discretion to vary from it slightly. To that end, a judge may choose to take any number of factors into their decision. As for the guideline, the factors taken into the calculation include:

  • The average monthly income of each parent
  • The number of children the parents have together
  • The percentage of time the child spends with each parent
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Mandatory retirement contributions
  • Mandatory union dues
  • Child support paid for children with other parents

Q: Can My Child Support Payment Amount Be Changed?

A: Whether or not the amount of child support owed can be changed depends on the current amount’s relationship with the guideline amount. If the current amount is below the guideline, a request for a change can be made at any time. If the current amount is above the guideline, a parent must show that there has been a change of circumstances that justifies a potential change.


Above all, child support should be fairly apportioned. We know that, at times, it can feel like the system is stacked against making that happen. That’s why you need our experience at the Edgar & Dow. Our team can help you fight to get a fair shake in court. Our experience and knowledge can be the weapon you need in court. Contact us today to have us take a look at your case and see what options you may have.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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