© 2019 Law Office of Emily E. Rubenstein. The information on this site is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice. For legal advice, consult an attorney.  

Whether you are seeking child support or contesting a child support request, a child support dispute can be extremely stressful. 


California law requires both parents to support their children. The question is determining the amount of child support.

In California, child support is calculated with a complex algebraic formula, often called "Guideline" or "Dissomaster." This formula considers each parent's income, amount of time each parent spends with the children, medical insurance premiums, and other factors.


Child support is payable until a child reaches the age of 19, reaches the age of 18 and is no longer a full-time high school student, dies, marries or becomes emancipated. 

Child support can become complex if one parent withholds the child to manipulate the custodial timeshare or when a parent's income is in dispute. Sometimes, parents are self-employed or paid in cash.  Sometimes, parents choose not to work or are under-employed.

Whenever possible, our attorneys negotiate child support disputes to be resolved outside of the courtroom. Contested child support matters, with ongoing litigation, are rarely in a child's best interest. They can also be also time consuming and expensive.


That said, we know that many parents have to fight to achieve a fair and equitable child support arrangement. Parents are not always forthcoming nor honest about their financial circumstances.


Our attorneys use every tool in the box to ensure we have the documents we need. In a child support dispute, you're entitled to financial records including pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements and more. These financial records can be subpoenaed from the opposing party or directly from financial institutions.

Whether negotiating, litigating, or both, you want to work with a child support lawyer who is prepared, thorough, responsive, and sensitive to your family's needs. It's critical to be empowered with knowledge and guidance during a child support dispute.


Whether you were married to the other parent or not, you can seek child support.

If you need child support from the other parent, time is of the essence. A Los Angeles court cannot make child support orders until the appropriate petition has been filed.

In addition, note that when parents are married, California law automatically assumes that the married people are the child’s legal parents. If the parents are not married, the father or other parent must establish parentage. Failing to do this can impact custody, visitation, and support rights.

A parentage action can be brought by a mother, father, other parent, child, or child’s personal representative.  A judge can order DNA testing. Also, a parent can sign a a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity.

Just like in a divorce, unmarried parents may negotiate and come to a written agreement relating to child custody, visitation, and child support, and/or may seek orders from the court.


California judges have wide discretion to issue child custody orders. 


First and foremost, judges must consider the child’s health, safety, and welfare.

Second, judges are required to ensure that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing -- except when such contact would not be in the best interests of the child, as a result of abuse or other issues.

California courts take a holistic view of the child's life, including academics, health, living arrangements, and more. The Court will look to balance continuity and stability with the need for frequent and continuing contact when possible.

Courts can issue orders relating to private custody evaluations, parenting plan assessments, professionally supervised visitations, parenting classes, parenting communication including on designated apps, and more.

Child support is often one of the most critical issues in a divorce. 

If you need child support from the other parent, time is of the essence. A Los Angeles court cannot make child support orders until the appropriate petition has been filed.

You may need child support pending finalization of your divorce.  Child support can be negotiated or litigated pending final resolution.  Parents can come to a written agreement or a California court can issue"temporary" child support orders.  Temporary orders remain in place until the parties sign a global settlement agreement stating otherwise, go to trial, or until further order of the court.


Sometimes, parents withhold visitation as a weapon to hurt the other parent. Sometimes, one parent is overly controlling about the other's parenting time.  California courts do not approve of this conduct. It can be resolved in negotiation or via court order.


Remember: it is the public policy of the state of California for children to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents.  This is because it is generally in a child's best emotional, psychological, and spiritual interest to have a relationship with each parent when possible.

In fact, withholding parenting time or obstructing visitation can actually result in a change of custody. 

If you're seeking more time with your child, consider the following:

  • Keep a record of communication and requests for visits.

  • Keep a visitation journal, inclusive of dates and times.

  • Suggest use of a co-parenting communication app or mutual co-parenting classes.

  • Always communicate respectfully and cordially with the other parent.

  • Be a participatory, active parent.

  • Remember, you have a right to your child's medical and academic records.


Co-parenting with someone who abuses drugs or alcohol is one of the hardest things a person can do. 

The number one concern is your child's safety and well being. It's critical to put guardrails in place prior to being in crisis mode.

These guardrails must take specific needs into account based on the parent's condition and the age of the child. Some options include drug and alcohol testing, restrictions on driving with the child, and professionally monitored visitation. These can be negotiated out of court or if necessary can be requested as court orders.

We have represented parents on both sides of contested custody proceedings involving allegations of addiction or abuse.


We have represented parents seeking sole custody and parents in recovery who are seeking to reunify with a child. 

We have represented parents seeking supervised visits and parents defending themselves from wrongful allegations.


These are very sensitive issues. Whether in litigation or negotiation, you need the right documentation and guidance to protect your child.


A mediator is a neutral third party who helps people resolve conflicts through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques. 

Mediation can be extremely useful for co-parenting disputes.

That said, a mediator does not advocate for you. It's important to consider hiring a child custody attorney to educate you about your parenting rights, to help evaluate offers in mediation, and to offer negotiation strategy and insight.  

You want any agreement to be one that you are fully comfortable with and for which you are fully informed. 


9107 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 450

Beverly Hills, California 90210

(310) 750-0827

We proudly serve Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Culver City, the South Bay, Glendale, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Encino and all of Los Angeles County.