One of the key findings of a 2003 study by the Urban Institute on behalf of the California Department of Child Support Services was that most parents who don’t pay the court ordered amount of child support are simply unable to pay it because their income is too low. Most significantly, the report highlighted that support orders-at least in 2003-appeared to be too high for low-income debtors to pay.

The consequences of these findings are obvious. It means that there are probably many parents out there who are paying more child support than they should be. However, there is another very important issue, which is that many parents who have the means to support their children well are not really doing enough to provide for them. Custodial parents may be concerned that their children are not being equally or fairly supported, and this too is a serious matter.

It is actually a very strange phenomenon that parents who can easily afford to pay child support neglect this responsibility. In some ways this could be a reflection of the way successful and wealthy people are taught by society to think. It’s popular in accounting to suggest strategies for people to minimize their taxes and reduce mandatory fees by as much as possible. Sometimes this kind of thinking may cross over into personal and family life, but minimizing or avoiding child support payments is very different from trying pay less taxes.

Most tax minimization strategies are legal. The only legal way to minimize child support payments is by approval from the California Department of Child Support Services or by permission of the court. More importantly, there are moral and social considerations for this type of action. The message it sends to the child is that the non-custodial parent has no concern for the child’s well-being.

According to Carlsbad child support attorney Fischer & Van Thiel, parents on either side of an argument over child support payments, or those who think the payments should be raised or lowered according to the circumstances, should seek legal advice as soon as possible.

The process of untangling complicated child support situations is a slow and difficult one. Any delay in starting proceedings could cause more financial problems and could harm your chances of getting a favorable outcome.

In law, the more time a detrimental situation is allowed to continue without being challenged, the more chance there is that a judge will take the view that the party seeking justice had already accepted the prior arrangements, and may not only dismiss the complaint but in some cases may actually make a new order which is even less favorable to the plaintiff.

For these reasons, if you are unsure about the amounts of child support that should be paid, it’s unwise to attempt to sort out the matter all on your own. Having a qualified legal specialist to help you is crucial to getting the best result in the shortest time.

About Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP