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Ask Legalease Your Own Question
Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16288
Experience:  13 years experience, divorce & custody issues, protective orders, child abuse issues
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My divorce was completed in California in 2013, we both now

Customer Question

My divorce was completed in California in 2013, we both now live in Idaho. Initial my ex-wife had an order for child support to be withheld, however, i changed jobs and set up an autopay through my bank to pay child support, which got the money to her faster. Am i violating the divorce or order since i didnt transfer it from previous employment. Also, if i paid every two weeks under order and switched to twice a month (equaling court order child support) am i also in violation? Can the child support be changed with change in salary(increase)?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.
Hello there -
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You have raised several questions and I will answer each in turn, as follows:
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1. IDAHO or CALIFORNIA COURT JURISDICTION: If you and your wife have lived in Idaho for six months or more then the local county family court there in Idaho now has jurisdiction over the case -- and in particular any child support, custody and visitation matters which might arise between the two of you in the time period since you moved to Idaho. It is unclear to me why an attorney in Idaho would refer you back to the CA court for these matters because neither of you or the children are resident in CA any longer. Yes, your divorce proceeded and was processed under CA law and if there are any other ongoing agreements between the two of you aside from child support, custody and visitation matters, then CA law would still be applicable to such ongoing provisions -- but because neither of you are resident in CA any longer, a court in CA does not have to hear the case -- a court in Idaho can hear the case and actually apply CA law to any ongoing items in the divorce agreement that the two of you may be having a conflict about. Bot***** *****ne regarding the child support, visitation and custody is that IDAHO law will apply to such matters (and if you move to another state again after Idaho, then the law of that state will apply to all support, custody and visitation issues -- this is because each state prides itself on their courts and the fact that the local county court where the children currently reside and attend school, etc, is better qualified than an out of state court to determine what is in the best interests of the child residing in that state). So, in the event that either you or your ex seeks to modify any of the existing terms for child support, visitation or custody then either of you can go to the clerk;s office of the family court in the county where the children reside in Idaho and file any motion regarding these issues concerning the children (you would present the original CA order to the Idaho court as their starting point)).
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2. INCREASE / DECREASE in CHILD SUPPORT AMOUNT -- Yes, your ex can petition the court to review the child support order and request recent pay stubs and earnings statements from you to determine how much money you are currently earning and ask for an increase in the child support payments. As a general rule of thumb, court will order an amount of between 17 % and 25 % of your net income each month for support for one child and it can go as high as 40 % of your net income for more than one child (this is just a general statement of the amounts -- the court looks at many factors when determining a final amount such as the amount of time that each of you have the children each month and the ages of the children and the expenses for extracurricular activities for each child before determining a final amount). By the same token, if you suddenly fall on hard times you can petition the court for a decrease in child support and it will usually be granted if it is within reason but it will be a temporary order until your situation improves.
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3. CHANGE OF METHOD IN PAYING CHILD SUPPORT -- If there was a specific court order stating that the child support is to be handled through the CA state child support enforcement division and the CA child support enforcement department had garnished your wages in CA -- and then those payments suddenly stopped without specific written notification to the child support enforcement department, you could end up with a very large problem on your hands because the child support enforcement department will most likely start marking your account as being "unpaid" in California and you could be accruing arrears in your case file with them. Your ex has no real incentive to contact the CA child support enforcement department to let them know that you have moved to Idaho and that you and your ex have established an alternative means of paying the child support through a new garnishment and so I urge you to contact the CA Department of Child Support Enforcement as soon as possible to determine what their current records state and to determine whether or not they have actually been informed by your ex that you are current in your child support payments to her. Your best bet is to write them a letter with the proof of the current paid child support payments enclosed (copies of cancelled checks, copies of account statement from your employer showing the deduction and confirming where the payments have been sent (to your ex). You should also request that the CA Department of Child Support Enforcement transfer the case to their counterparts in Idaho -- every state has their own Department of Child Support enforcement -- so that Idaho can confirm the payments being made through your employer and it will be noted in both CA and in Idaho that you are in full compliance with the court order from CA for child support and the method of payment of child support.
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4. CAN YOU CHANGE THE PAYMENT DATE FROM ONCE A WEEK TO TWICE A MONTH -- If the Idaho department of child support enforcement is willing to permit you to continue to pay your child support in this manner, then there is nothing in the law that prevents you from paying it in this manner either so long as your ex agrees to it as well. Generally speaking, weekly payments from a garnishment are put in place because it is easier for the Department of Child Support enforcement to keep track of it each week in their computer accounting systems.
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I believe that I answered all of your questions above, but if I missed anything or any question, please let me know and I will be happy to address it. I hope that these answers help you to get a better understanding that when you and your child or children move to a new state, that new state has jurisdiction over you and the children when it comes to matters of child support and enforcement of that support. I urge you to be very careful here and I am very serious when I tell you that you need to backtrack to the CA division of child support enforcement and determine whether or not they have received any kind of notice that you are STILL paying your child support according to the CA court order. YOu do not want or need an arrearage balance in any state and such things can tend to pop up when you are least expecting it -- such as if you are pulled over for a traffic stop and suddenly learn from the cop that your license was suspended in CA for failure to pay child support and you were completely unaware of any of this or the license suspension. THe courts and the Child support enforcement division in every state has the right to suspend driver's license, suspend US Passports, suspend or cancel professional licenses to work (such as a law license or medical license or a contractor;s license) and they can take your tax returns without notice every year -- and these are just a few of the methods used against non custodial parents that the state of CA or Idaho (or any state) says / claims owe past due child support payments. Once an arrearage amount gets significant by the standards of the Child Support Enforcement Agency then they do become more aggressive in attempting to get these payments from the non custodial parents. You do not want to be on their hit list -- even by mistake !!
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Please let me know if you have any follow up questions on any of these points. If not, can you please press a positive rating underneath this ANSWER box so I will be paid for my time assisting you tonight. I am paid NOTHING unless you press a positive rating below in the ratings section (the middle smile or star, the fourth smile or star or the fifth smile or star buttons). Pressing a positive rating will NOT cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as the trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time assisting you tonight by paying me a small portion of the deposit/payment made by you.
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THANK YOU VERY MUCH
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MARY
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What if , upon job change 9 months ago, I went to directly paying my exwife child support. Besides following up with CA child support services am I violating anything? Should I have transferred the withholding order to new job? I was trying to simplify and speed up process for exwife.
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.
Hello again --
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Yes, you are violating the CA court order which requires that all child support be paid through the child support enforcement agency in CA and that is why you need to contact them to work this out -- as I said, they probably have no idea where you are and because you did not notify them of anything that you wanted to do or intended to do, it is most likely that they are charging you with child support arrears for every week since you made this change. It is not a matter of being put into jail for failing to continue the wage garnishment issued in CA by the court and administered by the Child Support Enforcement Agency there -- it is simply a matter of the child support amounts that you are paying directly to your ex wife right now not being properly credited against your account in the CA child support enforcement agency. There are generally no problems with CA transferring the case to Idaho -- but you have to do it properly and from what you have told me here, you did not do it properly. You should contact the CA child support enforcement agency with your case number ***** they were using there and find out the information held about your account there. If you are in arrears according to their records then you have to provide them with proof of current payments and your current employer and current address. Based upon any records that you provide to the CA Child Enforcement Department they should be able to close out your case there when you show proof of all of the payments and proof of your current address in another state. They will then contact the Idaho child support enforcement division and your case will be handed over to the Idaho agency from the CA agency. It is then up to the Idaho agency (most likely in consultation with your ex wife ) whether or not to order that the wage garnishments be paid through the Idaho child support enforcement division or directly to your ex if all parties are in agreement. So no, I do not believe that you will face any criminal or civil charges for your actions because it is perfectly understandable for you to make such a mistake when you change your state of residence and need to pay child support without interruption to your ex wife. But you should contact the CA dept of enforcement as early as next Tuesday (after the holiday Monday) to work out any issues that might have presented themselves when you changed the method of payment of child support without notifying them in the first place.
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Please let me know if you have any follow up questions on any of these points. If not, can you please press a positive rating underneath this ANSWER box so I will be paid for my time assisting you tonight. I am paid NOTHING unless you press a positive rating below in the ratings section (the middle smile or star, the fourth smile or star or the fifth smile or star buttons). Pressing a positive rating will NOT cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as the trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time assisting you tonight by paying me a small portion of the deposit/payment made by you.
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THANK YOU VERY MUCH
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MARY