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Robert, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1412
Experience:  I am a licensed Attorney.
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This is concerning child support in California for a 17yr old

Customer Question

This is concerning child support in California for a 17yr old who will be 18 in 6months. I am 52yrs old/single a Psychiatric Techinian for the state of calif. I make $51,000 a year, but I only bring home after taxes around $3,000 a month. I filed bankruptcy (chapter 7) in Feb 2012, I am recently divorced from husband #4, I am attempting to modify my house payments due to "being underwater" and due to the above issues missed a few house payments due to lawyer fees etc. and am now in foreclosure but trying desperatly to keep my home of 8yrs. I divorced his father when he was 3 yrs old & brother was 5yrs old because he would not get a job. I received no financial support from him thru the yrs.--but he still owed and in 2010 came to me crying & begged me to go sign away the $8000 he owed me thru the Calif. D.A. office. My ex had just gotten out of prison, doing a yr for felony drug sales and possession of a weapon. He appeared to finally be getting it together, he even had a job & not wanting to hurt anyone and thinking "we got along all this time without his help so why not" so, I stupidly agreed. Well, about a year and a half ago my a(at the time, 15yr old) got into an argument, resulting in my son shoving me against the wall (I had never laid hands on my kids) and it scared me so I called his dad to take our son for a visit (same town) for a couple of weeks...this turned into a yr and a half because my son "wanted to know his dad". during this time I gave money each month to my ex, until my son said he never saw any. I pay for his ins., school clothes, karate, etc. My ex quit his job the minute his probation was over, he lives free with his mom and now collects welfare. I got a notice demanding $689.00 a month for my 17yr old and a court date next month. With my $1300 amonth house payment and this I won't be able to live...I drive a 20 yr old vehicle, my ex has a new car. What should I do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Robert replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for choosing JustAnswer! I'm sorry to hear you are going through this but I can help. I will need more information before I can answer you, however.

Can you tell me more about the notice?

Was it a motion to modify child support or is it a motion for a new child support?

Is there a current child support order?

Once I have more information I will be glad to help.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

It is a "NOTICE OF MOTION" document and the "MODIFICATION", "CHILD SUPPORT","HEALTH CARE" & "OTHER: Liqudation and Standard Orders" boxes are checked off. In our original divorce order in 1998 we had joint custody and I had sole physical custody. I can't remember how much money was to be paid to me back then but it wasn't much because he had no real job even though he is an excellent cabinet maker and is capable of earning as much as I do. Also, he is still angry with me since I got the state job the year after I left him and even tried to get "summer support" from me when the boys were still little. I went to court as ordered, he didn't bother to show up and incredibly the judge called his home and put him on speaker in the court room. Hitting his ego I brought up the fact that he is quite capable of earnings and he relunctantly agreed he does make good money..... and that he was just arrested the felony charge I mentioned but she didn't seem to care about that. the case was dropped only because he was "capable" of earning. In the last yr he has had a pacemaker installed due to yrs of drug use, but I know lots of people who still hold full time jobs.

Expert:  Robert replied 5 years ago.
Just to be clear, the minor child is currently living with his father, correct?

Also to clarify, the current child support order indicates that the father should be paying you, correct?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

My 17yr old goes back and forth between us, but at the moment yes he is currently living with his dad at his grandmothers house. The original support order was thru the D.A.'s office because I was going to college at the time and my ex wouldn't work so I left him taking our sons and I got on welfare to finish school, which I did and have been employed with the state of calif for almost 13 yrs now. after a few yrs I got a notice from the County asking if I still wanted them to try to collect the support he owed me, I wrote back telling them no, what was the use, he would never pay anyway. The $8000 support he owed and I stupidly signed off on in 2010 was the back support (arrearages probably) from a decade ago when I used welfare for a year and a half to better my sons and my life. Note: the ladies at the welfare office in 2010 were stunned that I would write this money off and when 2 months later I received a "demand for back taxes" that HE owed to the welfare office in the amount of $2000 I marched back into their office in tears and they immediately stopped the charge against me remembering what I had done for him (I don't know what if anything he had to pay ). How naively stupid of me right!

Expert:  Robert replied 5 years ago.
Try not to be so hard on yourself. It is actually pretty common for an individual to write off such debts in hopes of reconciliation or receiving some other benefit from the individual owing the money.

Since the current child support order was never terminated or modified then he still owes you for the child support that accrued after you signed off on the arrears (unless you also signed off on termination of new child support). This being the case, if he attempts to obtain retroactive child support from you then you can simply respond that any such child support you owe him should be set off against the money he owes you. Judges are reluctant to order retroactive child support anyway so you should be fine in that regard.

Having said that, if the minor child has started living with the other parent then that is usually a legitimate reason to modify the child support. Because of this and unless the child moves back with you, his motion to modify child support will likely succeed. However, keep in mind that I do not know ALL of the details of your situation and to be safe you should try to speak with a local family law attorney during a free initial consultation to discuss the possibility of defeating such a motion. Generally in situations like yours, the child support order is modified. Keep in mind that such a modification will cause a recalculation of the child support and will take into account any fluctuations of the parents' incomes.

You can find such an Attorney near you by using the following link to select your area in California and it will display contact information for such Attorneys:

I hope this has helped your understanding of the situation. Please remember to rate my answer positively if I have been helpful. Please let me know if you need me to further clarify my answer.

Thank you and good luck!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Just so I understand...The county's welfare office can and will come after me for almost $700 a month for support (for a 17 yr old) plus thousands of dollars of arrearages for the last few months the welfare office has taken to bring this to court? even though I have always (and still do) paid for my sons expenses: medical ins, school lunches, school clothes, etc.---1--Is this a normal child support amount to pay for a 17 yrold? 2--should I just order my son to come home (calling the police if I have to, the order still exist of sole physical custody)? 3--Calif law still states support ends at 18 or high school graduation, which ever comes first?

Expert:  Robert replied 5 years ago.
They can and they will. You need to request that his income be garnished to pay his new arrears (if any exist). The support you owe will be calculated from when they filed.

Child support calculations vary from one situation to the next. To determine your likely child support obligation you may want to use one of the calculators available at the following link:

You should also request to be reimbursed for the expenses you made while the child was with the other parent. Some, like insurance, may be reimbursed.

You can go pick your son up and return him home (take your custody order and involve law enforcement if necessary).

Yes, child support generally ends at 18 in California unless ordered otherwise.

I hope this has helped. Please remember to rate one or more of my answers positively if I have been helpful.

Thank you and good luck!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I am sorry, but I have to rate you as bad!!! why? You or whoever you had answer me did not even read my ex is on WELFARE in the 14 yrs since we left him he has only had a job for maybe a yr and a half or so and only then because he was on parole from prison! So your advice was moot! No I am not satisfied with your "answer". I was as forthcoming as I possibly new how to be but unless you pay attention to what I said whats the point! Thanks bunches for recommending contacting a "REAL LAWYER" , wow, I would have NEVER thought of that.....sarcasm by the way.

Expert:  Robert replied 5 years ago.
I am sorry you did not find my answer helpful. I will opt out and allow another Expert to assist you.