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What You Need to Know About Child Support Laws in California – and the Responsibilities

McKean Family Law > Child Support  > What You Need to Know About Child Support Laws in California – and the Responsibilities

What You Need to Know About Child Support Laws in California – and the Responsibilities

Child Support in California

Child support can be best defined as the ongoing contribution of money to help pay for the living and medical expenses of a child or children until they reach adulthood. The amount that must be paid is known as the child support order, and under federal law, both parents share a legal duty to provide financial support for their children.

Of course, the overall goal in these kinds of domestic situations is to let children share in the standard of living both parents engage in, and as such, the court may order either or both parents to pay support.  When it comes to responsibilities, parents must share in the state of California; certain expenses are included in the monthly support calculation.

Though this list is somewhat short, it is still an important one to understand when determining support needs.

They include:

  • Monetary support (food, clothing, and shelter)
  • Health insurance
  • Back payments
  • Interest on back payments

“Monetary support” encompasses everything from the aforementioned food, clothing, and housing to basic education and other essentials for a child. Furthermore, other expenses can be ordered by the judge or agreed to by the parents, including:

  • Child care
  • Unpaid medical bills
  • Travel costs for visitation
  • Extracurricular activities in or after school, such as sports, lessons, and field trips


While all of this may seem pretty straightforward, support cases can be emotionally driven traumas that eventually involve other legal matters, such as paternity or divorce issues. What’s more, it is vital to be aware of California Family Code 4053, which outlines pretty much everything a mother or father going through a custody/support situation needs to know.

Code 4053 dictates the following:

  • A mother and father’s first and most important obligation is to support their child.
  • That obligation is mutual, based on ability, each parent’s income, and time with the child – all consistent with the child’s best interests.
  • A child should share in the standard of living of both parents (which we covered above).
  • Support may improve a custodial parent’s standard of living because that improves a child’s standard of living; that also means that the disparity of each parent’s standard of living is reduced.
  • California is an expensive state to live in, and support orders definitely reflect that.
  • California law presumes the parent who possesses the primary parenting time already contributes a significant part of his or her resources for the child; this presumption can be rebutted.
  • California’s guidelines are designed to reduce conflict and lessen litigation.


If you are in need of services from a highly experienced child support attorney, contact McKean Family Law today at (916) 666-7874 and discover for yourself why we’re the kind of family law Roseville needed – at the right time.