California mothers who are not in a relationship with the father of their child should keep a number of points in mind. One is that establishing paternity as soon as possible is important if the parents are not married. This opens the way for a child to begin receiving child support and other benefits such as death benefits if the father dies.
However, both mothers and fathers are legally required to support a child, and either may be ordered to pay child support. The amount of time children spend with parents and parents' incomes are among the factors that decide how much child support will be paid. Support should be paid through the local department of child support services. This creates a record of payments and also makes it possible for actions to be taken to enforce the obligation.
A person who has a good reason for needing a child support modification such as a job loss should go through the court system to request a change. Failing to do so only leads to child support obligations and penalties adding up. Wages and tax refund may be garnished in the event of a failure to pay child support, and other sanctions could be imposed, including a driver's license suspension and, in some cases, jail.
Parents who are going through a divorce will in most cases need to negotiate child custody, support and visitation if their children are young. In doing so, they should also avoid confusing the issues. Attorneys will remind their clients who are seeking child support that they cannot withhold visitation if the other parent falls behind on payments.