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I Can’t Afford Child Support

November 30, 2022

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Child Support: Affordability Issues

Sometimes the judge will make an order for child support, and the parent that is responsible for paying the child support will tell them, “I cannot afford to pay that child support.” This answer will never fly in California and here is why, child support is the very first thing that you pay from your income. That is what the state of California believes. Even if you have rent or cell phone bills and food, car expenses, car insurance, life insurance, and whatever, all of those get paid after you first pay child support. So if your take home pay is $3,000 a month and your child support is $800 a month, you pay the child support bill first, and then you worry about how you’re gonna pay for your rent and your food and your cell phone bill, and your car insurance and the rest of your bills. That is why a judge or the state of California generally does not ever accept the argument that one cannot pay for child support.

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As a sub note, spousal support is the second bill you pay if you have to pay spousal support. So first it’s child support, then it’s spousal support, then it’s all of your other bills. Just as a note of reference on this, or an example, we had a case years and years ago where a client said directly to the judge after a child support order was made, our client stood up and said, “your Honor, I cannot afford that. I can’t afford to pay that child support order.” The judge asked him why? And he said, “because I only earn a certain amount of money from my income.” The judge asked him what he did for a living and he said, “I play guitar in a band and I play gigs at night.” The judge said directly to my client, “you will pay your child support, you will pay all of it, and you will pay on time. Or I will call you back to this court and I will force you to sell your guitar and get a real job.”

That is how serious the state of California and judges are about child support being paid and being paid properly.

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