Child Support: Mandatory & Discretionary “Add Ons”: San Diego Superior Court: 2012

For child support calculations in San Diego Superior Court, the mandatory California State Guidelines are used. This can be referred to as the “base” child support amount as there are both mandatory and discretionary add ons. Mandatory add ons for child support consist of payments made by either parent which are not included in the child support calculation. There are five family law courts in San Diego County which include El Cajon, Vista, Chula Vista and two in downtown San Diego. There are two DCSS court houses in San Diego County and these are located downtown and in Vista. Whether your child support case is in the family law court or the DCSS court, the child support calculation will be using the guideline.

Under California Family Law Code Section 4062 [used in San Diego], there are mandatory additional court orders above and beyond the guideline child support calculation. First, all child care costs related to training for employment skills or necessary education which are reasonable to obtain or for employment such as when working. Second, all reasonable health care costs which are not covered by insurance for the child or children such as co pays, prescription medicine, vision, dental, orthodontic or counseling. In this same section are discretionary additional court orders which can be requested. First, these include costs for special needs of the children or other education costs. Second, are travel expenses. A common issue in a move away case is the cost of the transportation of either the parent or the children. The law looks to the best interests of the child or children and not who moved away or fault issues in most cases. As such, the Court has the authority to order that both parents pay one half of travel expenses and does so on many occasions. There is also a category on the Disso Master program for travel costs and this is referred to as a “negative add on” since this payment will decrease the base support amount and not increase.

Under California Family Law Code Section 4063 [again used in San Diego], has the law for the payments to the other parent or medical provider. It is very important that the dental, medical, orthodontic, counseling or vision care be through the insurance provider if the child or children have insurance coverage. Failing to do so can mean loss of reimbursement. In addition, if the parents have joint legal custody, make sure to inform the other parent and obtain consent unless an emergency. The time periods are as follows in general: submit proof of payment within 30 days of payment of bill or receipt of bill and pay within 30 days or receipt of proof of payment or receipt of bill. Each parent pays one half. Again, failing to submit the billing or proof of payment within 30 days can result in loss of the request for reimbursement even if the payment itself is not disputed. This can be complicated and can occur over a number of years. It is important to have these orders in your child support order if you will ever ask for reimbursement under the Family Law Code.

If you have payments which are included above, it is important to consult an experienced attorney who can assist and make the proper legal analysis. Our office offers both a complimentary and confidential consultation in our office for up to 30 minutes so that these issues, and other issues regarding child support, can be discussed. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about mandatory or discretionary child support add ons in San Diego.