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 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.

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.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

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.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Children on Social Security & Child Support in New Jersey



Related articles

How Does Louisiana's Child Support System Work?

When parents divorce, children may suffer financially from the decreased household income level. Child support orders are given to help ensure that both parents are supporting the children financially, even when only one parent has custody of the children. In Louisiana, as in other states, child support guidelines help determine the amount to be paid, and the state can help a custodial parent obtain payments.

Intestacy Rules in Colorado

Colorado's intestacy rules are similar to the rules found in other states but don't provide for inheritances by remote relatives, such as distant cousins. Colorado's laws allow inheritances by a birth parent who adopted out the deceased person or any birth children the deceased person put up for adoption, but only to prevent the estate from going to Colorado because of a lack of heirs. State laws set the inheritance rules for the estate of a person who died intestate; however, these rules don't take the financial needs of his heirs into consideration.

Alabama Child-Support Laws

Child support is often one of the most disputed issues between a couple when a marriage ends. Although many people have the "traditional" idea that only the father is ordered to pay child support, today's court's take a more gender-neutral view toward child support payments. As in other states, child support payments in Alabama are determined by several factors relating to the relative circumstances of the mother, the father and the children.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Disabled Veterans & Child Support in California

Veterans injured in the service of their country are afforded financial assistance and protection by the federal ...

Illinois Laws on Child Support of Disabled Children

In Illinois, as in all states, parents are responsible for financially supporting their children. This is true even ...

New York's Children Inheritance Laws

In New York, a parent may make a will devising property to children. New York also allows parents to disinherit a child ...

Does Child Support Go to the Children After They Move Out?

Generally, child support terminates once the child moves out of his parent's home to live independently. Support is ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED