Can I Get Child Support and Custody if the Divorce is My Fault?
There are two main reasons that you are entitled to request child support in the state of California if you are the custodial parent. The first reason is that California is a ‘no-fault’ divorce state. This means that when you file a petition for divorce, you will not need to specify a reason or prove the wrongdoing of the other party. Typically, a family court will not consider any information having to do with why the divorce is being requested or why it should be denied. The simple fact that one spouse filed for divorce is considered sufficient grounds to grant it.
The second reason is that minor children are entitled to child support from both parents. The child is entitled to share in the lifestyle and status of both parents. Each child support case has different circumstances, but the calculation is guided by the amount of physical custody and income. Basically, the judge will look at the income of both parents and custody arrangements.
Of course, no-fault does not mean the absence of disagreements. If you think that the other parent will behave adversely, it is in your child’s best interest to speak with a California family law attorney about your rights as well as obligations regarding child support and custody.
How to File for Child Support and Custody
When someone files for divorce in California, it is common practice for the parent with primary physical custody to request child support. Part of the family law forms made available by the court include forms that allow a parent to request child support. (For assistance in Sacramento contact the Self-Help Center). A request can be simple or complicated, depending on the age of the child, disability, and other lifestyle considerations.
During the divorce process, it is typical practice to establish one parent as having primary custody. That parent is referred to as the custodial parent. The other parent is referred to as the non-custodial parent. This usually makes a difference in which spouse will pay child support and how much as well. Again, in most cases, the reason behind the divorce or who initiated it is irrelevant in determining custody.
It is important to fully understand what your child is entitled to so that you can include that in the divorce petition. If you do not include specific requests, the judge will not automatically include it as part of the child support. It can also lead to additional court expenses. A family law attorney can answer questions and help create a legal strategy that will benefit your child. A consultation can help you avoid delays and exclusion of financial benefits your child may be entitled to under California family law.