Temporary Child Support FAQs

What is temporary child support?

Temporary child support is support awarded for children, during the pendency of:

  • A proceeding for dissolution or legal separation
  • Any other proceeding in which support of a child is at issue.

How is temporary support computed?

The Statewide Uniform Guideline applies to both temporary and permanent support orders. Temporary support is computed using the same formula given by the Statewide Uniform Guideline and following the same principles.

Can the amount of permanent child support and temporary child support be different if the same formula was used?

Yes. Although permanent and temporary child support both use the Statewide Uniform Guideline formula, the amount of the permanent award may vary from the amount of the temporary award, based on the changes in the parties’ circumstances during the pendency of the proceedings. Examples of circumstances that can change are parties’ income or time-sharing arrangements.

Can temporary support be given retroactive effect?

Yes. The order for temporary support may be made retroactive to the date of filing the petition or other initial pleading. If the parent ordered to pay child support was not served with the petition or other initial pleading within 90 days after filing, and the court finds the parent was not intentionally evading service, then the earliest date on which the order can be effective is the date of service.

For how long will temporary support be effective?

A temporary support order remains in effect until a permanent support order is made, or the order is otherwise terminated by the court or by operation of law. The court may modify or terminate a temporary support order at any time, except as to amount that have accrued before the date the notice of motion or order to show cause to modify or terminate was filed.

When is temporary support not enforceable?

A temporary support order is not enforceable during any period in which the parties have reconciled and are living together, unless the order specifies otherwise.

For example, if a wife files for divorce in Stanislaus County in May and obtains a temporary child support order, but reconciles with her husband in June who resumes living with her, she cannot collect child support in subsequent months as she has reconciled with her husband and is living with him.

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