Child Support & Social Security in California

By Teo Spengler

Social Security is more than the check you hope to get every month after you retire. The Social Security Administration operates many of the social welfare programs in the United States, including retirement, death and disability benefits. Social Security interfaces with a divorced parent's child support obligations in several ways, with the potential to increase and decrease the out-of-pocket amount the parent must pay.

Social Security is more than the check you hope to get every month after you retire. The Social Security Administration operates many of the social welfare programs in the United States, including retirement, death and disability benefits. Social Security interfaces with a divorced parent's child support obligations in several ways, with the potential to increase and decrease the out-of-pocket amount the parent must pay.

Social Security Benefits

Family law courts generally apply state law, since the individual states regulate matters as divorce, child support and spousal support. However, federal law can also play an important role, as is the case with Federal Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance benefits, commonly called Social Security. The Social Security system provides retirement, disability and death benefits to qualifying workers and their family members. These benefits generally cannot be garnished or attached by creditors under federal law.

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California Child Support

In California, each parent has the legal obligation to support his children financially. The parent with whom the children live is assumed to be making a fair contribution; the other parent is ordered by the divorce court to pay monthly child support in an amount based on his income and calculated under the state guidelines. Questions arise as to the role of a noncustodial parent's Social Security income in determining child support.

Assessing California Child Support

Payments a parent receives from Social Security are separate property and cannot be divided between the spouses as marital property upon divorce. However, these amounts are included in spouse's income to determine child support. Both retirement and disability benefits are included, and a larger income amount generally increases the amount of a noncustodial parent's child support obligation. The periodic Social Security payments may be attached for child support, although they cannot be attached by other creditors.

Credits Against Child Support

In some cases, the Social Security Administration makes payments to a retired or disabled workers' minor children under the Social Security or Railroad Retirement Acts. Any sums paid to the minor children or to the custodial parent on their behalf serve as credits against the noncustodial parent's child support obligation. For example, if a child support obligation is $3,000 a month but the children already receive $1,800 from social security, the parent's obligation is reduced to $1,200 a month. This is not true, however, if the benefits to the children are death benefits. The estate of the deceased parent still owes the full amount of child support for the children.

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Disabled Veterans & Child Support in California

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Child Support Guidelines in Florida

Child support guidelines help ensure that the child support payments Florida judges order in divorce cases are fair and consistent. The guidelines take the mother's income, father's income and needs of the child into consideration. Judges are not required to follow the guidelines to the dollar; they have discretion to make adjustments to child support orders as needed.

How Do I Calculate Disposable Net Income for Child Support Payments?

States take the position that both parents are responsible for financially supporting their children after divorce. When one parent has more overnights with a child under a custody order, she is generally entitled to support payments from the other parent. Some states calculate the obligation based on a percentage of the parents' combined net incomes, while others look at only the net income of the parent who pays child support. In either case, knowing what is included in net income is typically an important first step in calculating child support.

Idaho Child Support Laws for a Non-Paying Parent

When parents separate or divorce, the custodial parent is typically entitled to child support from the parent who does not have primary custody. Idaho's child support guidelines set forth the amount the non-custodial parent must pay. The paying parent generally must make child support payments until a child turns 18. If payments are not made, Idaho's Department of Health and Welfare is authorized to enforce a court order to obtain payments.

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