If you have children with a former spouse or partner, California law generally requires you to pay child support. This may be true even if you have joint custody of your children or spend time in jail or another institutional setting while a child support order is in effect.
You may owe child support even if you have custody of your child
As a general rule, you aren’t required to make child support payments if you have custody of your son or daughter. If you don’t have custody of your children, your child support obligation might be reduced if you spend a significant amount of time with them. However, if you make more money than your child’s other parent, a judge may order you to pay uninsured medical costs or cover other expenses related to caring for a minor.
You may be required to make support payments while in jail
Child support payments are typically suspended if you’re sentenced to more than 90 days in jail or are institutionalized against your will for more than 90 days. However, payments might not be suspended if it is determined that you have the means to keep making them. Furthermore, payments may not be suspended if you are jailed for failing to comply with an existing court order or because you engaged in domestic violence against the person entitled to financial support.
If you have questions or concerns about a child support order, you may obtain clarification by speaking with an attorney. A family law attorney may be able to help you better understand an existing order or better understand what might happen if you’re unable to make payments on time. If you’re struggling to comply with an existing order, it may be possible to seek a modification.