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When Does Child Support Begin After Divorce?

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding California divorce law regards when a parent is required to begin making child support payments during the divorce process. Do payments begin right away? Should parents wait until a court order is issued? Is it considered abandonment if a parent does not pay child support during the separation period? The answer: it depends.

Child support actions typically begin when married parents file for divorce. Once the request for child support is filed, it must be served to the other parent. The receiving parent generally has 9 days to respond before a hearing is set to issue a temporary order. The court will review each parent’s paperwork, listen to testimony, and issue a support decision. This decision will be memorialized both verbally and on the court’s record.

Generally speaking, the sooner a case is filed, the sooner the courts will set a temporary support obligation for the paying parent. This order can usually be obtained within 60 days of filing for divorce, though delays can occur if the seeking parent fails to properly complete the support request or the paying parent does not properly or honestly complete their income and expense declaration.

Legally, you are not required to make child support payments to your spouse unless the court orders the payments. While parents are always free to make arrangements and offer agreements on child support on their own, the court retains the final word for the best interests of the children.

Child support actions, while seemingly simple, can expose parents to numerous frustrations and pitfalls if not handled by an experienced attorney. Whether you are looking to pursue child support from your child’s other parent or are concerned about being required to pay an unfair amount, the Southern California divorce lawyers at Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC can provide the strong guidance you need to ensure your best interests are guarded.

To find out more about what our 200 years of combined family law experience can do for you, call our office today at (855) 939-9111.

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