Yes, you would still be ordered to pay child support despite your other obligations. As stated in Family Code Section 4053, California law establishes the general rule that parents are obligated to support their child according to their circumstances and station in life. This means that your ability to pay has already been accounted for when determining the amount you would pay in support.
There are many reasons why a parent would feel that they cannot afford to pay child support. Financial obligations like a home mortgage or car payments are typical reasons, and the reason why these examples come up so often is because they are very common obligations. If a parent could use such obligations as a basis to reduce or avoid paying child support, virtually every parent could make the argument.
The reasons also do not end there. Parents would claim other obligations for why they are strapped for cash and cannot spare the funds to pay child support. The reasons are varied and range from student loan repayments, to credit card debt, to personal loans, to streaming services.
For this reason, a judge will not take into account most monthly expenses to offset or modify the ordered child support. Child support is considered the right of the children, and a judge is not going to reduce the amount of support merely because a parent wants to keep their Netflix account.
However, a judge may consider certain extraordinary or mandatory costs when determining child support. These mandatory costs include labor union dues, mandatory retirement contributions, and health care insurance. Typically, these costs are deducted from a parent's paychecks by their employers and are not optional. Unlike most other expenses, these are not viewed as discretionary. The view is that a parent does not need to drive expensive cars or live in a fancy house, but they do need to pay child support, so the parent will need to adjust their living standard to comply with court order.
What qualifies as an extraordinary cost that would warrant an offset of child support depends on the judge and is determined on an individual basis. Whatever it may be, an extraordinary cost cannot be an expense that is common like a mortgage payment or student loan, but something that is unique and non-discretionary. An example of an extraordinary cost that comes to mind is the monthly payment for the cost of a prosthetic leg.
If you are facing issues regarding child support, or have questions about your rights, please contact our attorneys at Lee Lyu Martell. We are here to help. Our telephone number is (909) 381-0074.