“Since my divorce in 2004, Richard Helzberg has represented me through one of the most complex and dynamic custody cases imaginable.
He is always available to address unexpected twists with a level head and sound advice. He presents very well in court, and the results have been consistently in my favor.
He possesses a high degree of personal integrity and honestly cares about my child's well being as well as my feelings as a parent.”
—A.D., Petaluma, CA
Need Help with a Child Support Issue?
Some years ago, July 1, 1992, the current Statewide Uniform Guideline became effective in California.
The good news was that the legislature set up an objective way to determine child support. An algebraic formula was devised that attempts to apportion support based on each party's net income and the amount of time the child spends in the custody of each parent.
It's objective in the sense that it is number driven. It's logical in the sense that it fulfills the state policy that more should go to the parent who has custody of the child more of the time because the incidental expenses—food, clothes, movies, haircuts, etc.—will be higher for the parent who has the child most. It is arbitrary though and does not always deliver a fair result.
Normally, however, the judge can't deviate from what the support calculations determine. It is less difficult when both parents are salaried because pay stubs can be compared with pay stubs. It is less clear when one or both are self-employed or one parent
does not or has not worked.
I'm an advocate. If I am your attorney and you are the custodial parent, I will seek to maximize the level of support and add-ons you get and let you know as well how to enforce it. For example, in California, you are entitled to a wage garnishment so that child support is automatically deducted from the payor's check and sent to you.
Whether I represent the paying or receiving party, if the other parent is self-employed you can be assured I will work with you to do whatever can be done to make certain that parent's income
statements are complete and accurate.
If you are paying support to a non-working parent, there are steps we can take to determine what that parent could earn, and if we establish that, to ask a judge to impute that income to the other party.
While a judge can't order that person to work, a judge can impute income as if he or she were working—that means the level of support you receive or you pay could be substantially different based solely on the on that parent's earning capacity.
We're very thorough in working through the necessary documents and paperwork and knowing all that we are entitled to obtain from the other parent. It's part art and part science, and my paralegal and I have been working together for many years to get the best result possible for our clients.