Close Menu

How is Child Support Determined in California?

Posted on January 1st, 2023

Child Support Determined in CA

Child support refers to the amount of money a court may demand from a parent or, at times, both parents to pay for the expenses incurred when raising their child. Child support is often frequent in divorce cases that involve children under the legal age of 18 years, and both parents have a legal obligation to support their children. In California, a statewide child support formula, generally called a guideline, is used in calculating the amount of child support to be paid. The guideline is helpful to parents who cannot agree on the child support amount as it gives a realistic and accurate amount of the expenses that need to be covered for the child.

The California Child Support Guideline Formula

The guideline formula CS = K (HN – H%)(TN) calculates child support payments in California. CS denotes the total amount of child support. K is the total income of both parents to be considered in child support, and HN denotes “high net,” representing the amount of disposable income belonging to the spouse earning a higher income. H% indicates the time the spouse with the higher-earning spouse spends with their child or children as per the custody agreement between the parents, and TN is the gross net of both parents.

Factors That Influence How Child Support is Determined

However, in California, several factors influence how child support is determined. Here are some of the factors;

Parents’ Combined Income

The parents’ combined income is a key factor in determining child support in California. The state uses a child support guideline formula that calculates the amount of child support a parent should pay based on a percentage of both parents’ combined income. This guideline formula considers the parent’s gross income, which includes all forms of income such as salary, wages, bonuses, commissions, and self-employment income. In some cases, the judge may have to impute income for parents who may have intentionally lowered their income to avoid paying out child support to their children by considering what the parents can earn against their actual income.

Time-Share With Children

The guideline formula also considers the amount of time each parent spends with the children (time-share). The judge compares the amount of time each parent has physical responsibility for the child by counting the hours or days each parent spends with their child. For example, If Parent A has a 30% time-share and Parent B has 70% of the time spent with the child, the parent with the less time-share is expected to pay more child support. If both parents spend time with the child equally, the child support amount reduces. Essentially, a parent who spends more time with the children needs more child support as that parent incurs extra expenses in supporting the children by providing food, clothes, and a roof over their heads.

Number of Children Parents Have Together

Child support is subject to the number of children the parents have together. In California, the law provides multipliers for up to 10 children, as outlined in Fam. Code § 4055(b)(4). After getting the guideline amount for one child, the guideline formula specifies the appropriate multipliers for up to 10 children.

Mandatory Dues for Each Parent

Child support in California can also be determined based on the mandatory dues for each parent, such as health insurance or pension contributions. These dues are subtracted from the parent’s gross income to determine the net disposable income, which is then used in calculating the guideline child support amount. Additionally, if one parent has a health insurance plan that covers the children, the court may demand they pay a portion of the premium as part of the child support order.

Child Support Add-ons

In addition to the guideline formula, the judge considers additional expenses when determining child support in California. The court can consider additional expenses for the parents, such as child care costs due to a parent’s education or work and uninsured health costs for the child, and can order one parent to cover a portion of such expenses related to the children. The judge can also demand additional support for the child’s emotional and physical needs, living standards before the separation, and education needs. The court can deviate from the guideline amount in certain circumstances, such as if a parent has a high income or if there are special needs or extraordinary expenses for the child.

Contact Our Devoted Los Angeles Child Support Attorney Today

If you believe you may be receiving a child support amount lower than your child’s needs and deserves, contact our devoted Los Angeles child support attorney at the Harris Family Law Group by calling (310) 745-8644 today. We can help you receive the financial assistance you need for your children’s well-being. Contact our qualified, experienced family law attorney in Los Angeles for more legal assistance.

Related Source: