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What Does Child Support in California Cover?

Child support is always a very touchy subject for all parties involved. The parent paying the child support wants to make sure that the money is going to the child. The parent receiving the child support wants enough money to pay for all the child’s needs. Both parties can probably agree that raising a child can be expensive.


Child Support Covers the Basics

Child support basically covers the child’s bare necessities—nothing more. The reason why the amount of child support differs from situation to situation is because of many factors like a parent’s ability to pay and income. The financial needs of the child also comes into play. Financial needs mean the amount of money needed to maintain a child’s standard of living. This doesn’t not include the cost of living for the parent who is receiving the child support. The following is a breakdown of what California’s child support covers:


The necessities include food, shelter and clothing. Food refers to school lunches and other groceries. Shelter costs may be used to pay for rent or mortgage where the child resides. The money can also pay for the utility bills where the child lives.


Child support cover any educational expenses related to the child’s schooling. This can range from tuition, tutors, school uniforms, application fees and books.

Medical Care

Both parents are required to have health insurance for their child. There are times when insurance doesn’t cover all the medical bills. Typically, medical costs that aren’t covered by insurance is split between the parents. A parent can use the child support he or she receives to cover any outstanding medical bills.


Child support covers basic entertainment. These are age-appropriate entertainment like plays, movies and toys. A parent can use the support to pay for the Internet and cable since the child is using the services.

Extracurricular Activities

The courts do factor in any extracurricular activities a child may participate in such as summer camp, sports and music lessons. The extracurricular activities are considered any regular activities that happen outside of school hours.


Childcare includes cots like afterschool programs, daycare, babysitters and nannies.


Many parents paying support may not like the fact that child support covers transportation. However, a parent is allowed to pay for basic transportation costs. These costs include car insurance, car maintenance and gas. The costs must be used in relation to the child’s needs. For instance, if the parent receiving the support pays for gas to go on a vacation. If the child is not going, then it is not an allowable cost.


This is a gray area. Many parents have a separate agreement regarding how much a parent must contribute to a child’s college education. However, the parent receiving the support can pay for college-related expenses.

What the Paying Parent Should Know

It is a myth that California child support covers only food, shelter and clothing. The support is meant to cover a range of expenses including extracurricular activities and entertainment. California family court doesn’t require parents to prove the child support covers the above costs. It is assumed that the parent receiving the support is paying for the child’s necessary, basic needs. The only time it may require the parent to show where the money is going is when his or her child’s needs are being met.

Child support is fluid. This means a parent can go to court to a modification based on certain circumstances. Individuals interested in a child support modification typically seek the help of a family law lawyer.

When is it too Late to Annul a Marriage in California?

when-is-it-too-late-to-annul-a-marriageFiling for an annulment rather than a divorce can be a complicated process. An annulment has the expressed goal of deeming the marriage invalid, and thus, wiping it from the record as if it never existed. A divorce, on the other hand, is when two parties agree to end a marriage through the process of divorce. While divorces can happen at anytime, and there is no limitations on when one can file for divorce, in the state of California, annulments do have deadlines. How long you can be married and still annul a marriage in California depends entirely on the reasons that are being used for an annulment.

Minors Who Marry 

If one or both of the parties in the marriage are under the age of 18, they can file for an annulment with this as a reason. If the minor is still under 18 at the time of the annulment request a parent or legal guardian can file the request. After the individual turns 18 he or she has 4 years from their 18th birthday to file for an annulment. From the age of 22 onward, a divorce petition must be filed, instead.


Bigamy is the act of getting married while another, legal marriage still exists. In the case of bigamy, the second marriage is considered null and void, but the process of annulment must still be carried out. For an annulment on the grounds of bigamy both parties must be alive at the time of the proceedings. There is no time limit on when one can file for an annulment due to bigamy. The current spouse, or the pre-existing spouse can file.


Fraud is the most commonly used reason for an annulment request. Fraud, in this case, can be defined as one partner deceiving the other into the marriage. Fraud can be considered one partner telling the other that they’d like to have children when they do not. Fraud can also be defined as the withholding of important information that would have caused the marriage to never happen. The party who has been the victim of fraud must file for the annulment, and it must be within four years of discovering the fraud. Fraud, in certain circumstances, can be difficult to prove.


Force, in terms of an annulment, is the act of forcing one party to commit and consent to the marriage. This can happen when one party feels obligated to another, or when a minor enters into a partnership with an older individual. When force is being used as the reason for divorce, the one forced into the marriage must be the individual to file. An annulment because of force, must be filed within four years of entering into the marriage.

Physical Incapacitation 

An annulment of a marriage may be granted on the grounds of physical incapacity. That means, one party is no longer able to live up to their marital duties, or never was. For example, impotence can be considered a physical incapacity, however, the party asking for the divorce must prove that she was unaware of the physical disability at the time of the marriage. One can file for an annulment on these grounds as long as the marriage is no more than 4 years old.

Unsound Mind 

Under this reason, one party must prove that the other party is of unsound mind, or a conservator must prove that the individual was not of sound mind to consent to the marriage. This type of annulment can take place at any time during the marriage, as long as both parties are still living.