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What should I know about child support during divorce?

For parents, ending a marriage often involves taking more than just marital satisfaction into account. The cost of raising children on a smaller income after divorce is a valid concern that many people struggle with. Child support can help California parents address their fears over their children's future financial security. Here are a few things to know about this important part of family law.

Child support is calculated based on a number of factors that can vary from family to family. In general, things like both parents' incomes, parenting time, health care and child care costs, school expenses and similar costs are all factored into the support order. However, nothing in life is stagnant. Incomes change, expenses fluctuate and the financial needs of a child can drastically shift. If there are any changes in circumstances, parents can have their support orders modified by the courts to reflect current situations.

Modifications to a child support order can sometimes affect other things, too. It is not uncommon for an ex-spouse who is receiving child support to also receive some form of spousal support. While these are both important financial support systems for the recipient, child support will generally be prioritized over spousal support by the court. Because of this, any reduction in child support payments may also lead to a reduction of spousal support.

Child support payments do not have any positive or negative tax benefits. While this might seem frustrating to some parents in California, keeping child support neutral in terms of taxes can help ensure that the final amount is in the child's best financial interests. Keeping focus of a child's best interests during divorce can be difficult, though, so some individuals might find guidance from an experienced attorney to be helpful.

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