A California woman who has five children and who shares custody of three of them with their father was ordered by the state to pay almost $500 monthly in child support. However, most of that payment will go to repay the state for aid received by the father.

The children spend three days per week with their father, and the father receives public assistance because he has a medical condition that prevents him from working. He says the majority of the benefit he receives goes to support his children. The court ordered the mother to pay $475 per month, but only $50 of that is for child support. The remainder is reimbursement to the state. In addition, she has to pay $25 per month in back payments.

The mother is concerned that the amount ordered will create a financial hardship although the court took the unusual step of reducing the amount paid from more than $500. There is little flexibility in California for judges to adjust the child support amount after it has been calculated according to the formula. A judge must submit written evidence in order to get the amount changed. In this case, it was Fresno County and not the father who sought the payment in the first place.

A person who is considering divorce but who is also facing this kind of situation might want to talk to an attorney before filing for divorce to get a better understanding of the situation and how child support may be calculated. In addition to child support payments, divorce may create financial hardships in other ways as well. People may want to discuss with their attorneys how to best prepare themselves financially for a divorce.