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How do the courts calculate child support in California?

One of the hardest issues to come to an agreement on during a divorce is the amount of child support a parent will pay. Typically, both parents genuinely want what's in the best interests of the child, but they disagree mightily on what that actually means. The parent who will pay usually thinks that the payments are too high, while the receiving parent is usually unsatisfied with how low they are. If the couple can't or don't want to come to an amicable, fair agreement, the California divorce courts step in.

They use the state guideline to determine the amount to be paid, but this formula can be a little confusing, so let's break it down to its simplest form.

  • What is the normal income for the parents or what is their potential earning power?
  • What other types of income do the parents receive?
  • What number of children does the couple have?
  • What is the custody arrangement? Who keeps the child the majority of the time? Who has visitation rights?
  • What is the tax filing status of the parents?
  • Does the child receive support from any other relationship?
  • How much will it cost to cover the child's health care needs?
  • What is the cost of day care?
  • Does the child have any special needs that require financial support?
  • How much money is involved in transporting the child from one parent to another?
  • What are the educational costs?
  • The courts may also consider other factors in making their determination.

It may seem incredibly daunting to think about all these factors, especially when you're dealing with the emotional drain of a divorce. That's why it might be a good idea to have an attorney on your side.

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
Fax: 916-498-0127
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