Permanent Child Support Appeal
To understand how a permanent child support appeal arises it is important to understand how the court fashions the award. Family Code section 58 provides the prerequisites before a parent may be ordered to pay child support. Orders for child support occur in cases where there exists either, a parent of a minor child, an adult child whose parents have entered into a stipulated agreement for support, an unmarried adult who has not completed 12th grade and not reached 19, or an incapacitated adult who is without sufficient means of support. Subject to certain Family Code provisions; the father and mother of a minor child have an equal responsibility to support the child. The court may order either or both parents to pay an amount necessary for the child's support. The duty to support is not limited to biological offspring. The California legislature enacted the guideline in 1990. The guideline specifies how courts are to calculate support.
In determining the appropriate amount of permanent child support, all California courts must adhere to the “statewide uniform child support guideline. The factors to be considered in determining the amount of child support are provided in Family C. 4050 et seq. The guideline seeks to place the interests of children as the state's top priority. In setting guideline support, courts are required to adhere to the principles set forth in section 4053, which include: (1) A parent's first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children according to the
parent's circumstances and station in life; (2) both parents are mutually responsible for the
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support of their children; (3) each parent should pay for the support of the children according to his or her ability; (4) child support orders in cases in which both parents have high levels of responsibility for the children should reflect the increased costs of raising the children in two homes and should minimize significant disparities in the children's living standards in the two homes; and (5) Children should share in the standard of living of both parents. Child support may therefore appropriately improve the standard of living of the custodial household to improve the lives of the children.” (§ 4053, subds.(a), (b), (d), (e)(f)(g).)
The court’s child support order will be affirmed by the Court of Appeal unless the trial court abused its discretion and will be reversed only in the prejudicial error is found from examining the record. Determination of a child support obligation is a highly regulated area of the law, and the only discretion a trial court possesses is the discretion provided by statute or rule. In short, the trial court’s discretion is not so broad that it may ignore or contravene the purposes of the law regarding child support.
The child support appeal begins when either the supported or supporting party is unhappy with the court’s child support order. The party who challenges the order has the burden to show that the trial court abused its discretion. The first step is to determine whether an appeal is worthwhile (appealability arguably is also a first step, but more on that later.) Trial courts fashion orders all the time that to you, I, or even the Court of Appeal consider mistaken. However, these mistaken decisions do not produce a wave of child support appeal reversals. Whether the mistake in your case will merit a reversal demands the mistakes view in light of the abuse of discretion standard. As a San Diego based appellate attorney I can evaluate errors to attack in your child support appeal that are not only mistakes, but also reversible as an abuse of the court’s discretion. Another step I alluded to earlier is to determine if you can appeal at all. The Court of Appeal reviews some error only by writ or the adverse decision you wish to appeal in not yet ripe.
The above is a short description of the child support appeal process. I handle child support appeals from San Diego as well as the greater California area trial courts. I urge you to contact me so that I can evaluate your child support appeal and determine its merits.
Viewing the presentations, articles, other content, or contacting me/you through my web site does not establish an attorney client relationship. I will not file a notice of appeal nor calculate the time in which a notice of appeal must be filed by until I have received a signed retainer agreement. Warning, the time from which to file a notice of appeal is statutory. The time in which you have to appeal may pass between when you first contact me and when an attorney client relationship is formed upon when I receive a signed retainer agreement . Until a retainer agreement is signed and received by me, it is YOUR responsibility to insure your appeal is filed within the statutory period. The articles on this website are not legal advice and should not be used in lieu of an attorney. The accuracy of articles and information on this site cannot be relied upon.