Thank you for your question and I look forward to assisting you. Please keep in mind that I can only respond to your post and the information contained in it, as I do not know what you know unless you describe it fully. Also, oftentimes there are future facts that are as yet undetermined in your matter, that can and must leave some areas of information provided by me broad in nature. However, don't hesitate to ask for clarification if needed! At times, there can also be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break. That being said...
You are smart! And I appreciate your planning, because many a payor can be trying to do the right thing, only to have it disregarded by payee in the future. Generally, your past payments will have no effect on future obligations, as the past has its own moral obligation for child support from both parents (I say moral, because you are not violating any Court Order until there is a Court Order (but see caveat, below). However, generally there will be no arrears owed at the time of a first time Court Order, as arrears arise (??) when you fail to pay monthly court ordered payments in full each month (again, if your child received welfare, different story). Thus, you can voluntarily pay what you think you morally and responsibly should now. I strongly recommend that you NEVER give cash, always give it in check, and notate on that check that it is for supporting "johnnie" or whatever. Keep EVERYTHING nearl forever :)
Caveate: In California, the CSE agency may file a civil action to recover back child support for periods in which the child received AFDC even though you weren't necessarily on notice previously.
One of the most significant differences between a welfare case and a nonwelfare case is that the nonaid custodial parent is not able to obtain a retroactive child support order for periods of time prior to the filing of the civil action for child support. Unlike the welfare case where reimbursement for prior welfare payments can be set retroactively, child support in a nonaid case can begin only from the date the complaint has been filed.
Here is a link to the child support guidelines information for Calfornia. (https://www.cse.ca.gov/ChildSupport/cse/guidelineCalculator).
Good luck with your decision - for the record, I think giving CS now is good thing, and your child will never have to look back and know that you refused to support him back in the day. However, take a look at the guidelines - you may want to consider staying within them and not going over now, in any event. On the sly you can always save money for you child in your own way, that you can give to him much later, if you feel you have extra to give. You give it to the custodial parent now, it will be likelly spent for whatever b/c it is there - you save it, earn interest, etc. and it could be a nice form of help when the child is 18, 25, whathave you, or even for IRA purposed and his/her retirement next egg! Just a personal recommendation for anyone with excess :)
I hope you have found this information informative. If you need clarification or follow to my Answer, please let me know. Otherwise, please click the GREEN "ACCEPT" button NOW, in order that it be recognized as such and so that I may receive credit for same from the company and so that you receive appropriate site recognition for accepting expert answers in a timely fashion. Your promptness is greatly appreciated. Positive "FEEDBACK" and BONUSES are also appreciated. In addition, if you have future legal questions, please feel free to ask me directly by including my name "Stephanie Joy" in the body of your subject.
Stephanie Joy, JA Legal Expert
Please note: A times there can be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break. In addition, if it is late at night, EST, and we are between postings, I may go get some shut eye, but I'll be back, so never fear.
Legal Disclaimer. The information given by me here is not legal advice. You should not and may not rely on anything on this website as legal advice and you agree that the nominal price you may or may no pay for information here clearly does not pay for any legal advice. I am neither establishing nor accepting an attorney-client relationship with you. The only method of gaining an attorney/client relationship with me is via a retainer and fee agreement at my standard billable hour rate of $275.00, which is not offered via this site. I am providing only research, resources, opinion and information for you to be informed and educated about your particular needs and my answer is limited to the facts presented with the understanding that you will do your proper due diligence and appropriate follow up. I do not provide general or specific legal advice on this site. I also do not claim to be licensed to practice in the state where this information is being provided or state whose law would apply, if any. I strive to provide quality information, but I make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked herein and its associated sites. As law is always changing, you are recommended to speak with the appropriate legal counsel for accurate and complete information. Thank you and have a great day.