Divorcing California parents who are going through child custody proceedings may wonder how to get a child support court order. The laws vary depending on region, but most jurisdictions have laws that state a custodial parent is entitled to regular child support payments from the parent who does not have custody. In the United States, a court makes a determination of child support when the parents of the child obtain a divorce or are legally separated. If the parents were never married, the court first needs to establish the child's paternity.
A child support court order is automatically part of the divorce or legal separation decree whenever minor children are involved. However, prior to the final decree, the court may request financial information from both parents, such as current income and expenses. Most states require the parents of the children to complete a worksheet that gives the court a better idea of how much the non-custodial parent should pay. Child care will also be factored into a child support court order. This enables the custodial parent to work or attend school. Most jurisdictions credit the non-custodial parent for any time he or she has the children.
If the parents were never married, the court will not process a child support order until paternity is established. In most cases, simply being on the birth certificate does not establish paternity. Legal paternity may be established if the parents signed an affidavit at the hospital or health department. If there were no affidavits signed, one of the parties must file a paternity petition with the court. The court will then determine paternity.
Divorced parents or parents who are seeking a divorce may consider meeting with an attorney with experience in family law. An experienced attorney may be able to help navigate difficult and emotionally charged situations, such as custody and visitation rights.