How is Child Support Calculated in California?

Last month, the Los Angeles Child Support Services Department held several educational programs for parents who were interested in learning about child support. As Child Support Awareness Month comes to a close, it is important to ensure that parents still have access to important information about child support in California.

In California, children are entitled to financial support from both of their parents. When parents are married and/or live together, children generally benefit from that situation. However, when parents decide to split up it can be difficult to determine which parents will be responsible for the financial well-being of any children they may have. Should the custodial parent be responsible for the majority of the child’s costs? Do parents with no visitation rights have a responsibility to pay child support? California has taken the liberty of creating a uniform calculation system to determine how child support and financial assistance should be determined.

California Statewide Uniform Guideline

California uses a standard formula to determine parents’ financial responsibility when they no longer share custody of a child. The formula is very complex. It balances a number of key factors that help to determine the financial capability of each parent and the needs of the child. California strives to ensure that the best interests of a child are preserved when his or her parents divorce.

Using a standard formula prevents parents from using child support payments as a bargaining chip during a divorce. Parents are also prohibited from negotiating child support responsibilities in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Since the standard formula is incredibly complex, California has created an online calculator to help parents determine their financial child support responsibilities. The DissoMaster can be accessed here. The calculator will ask you to input information that will determine the appropriate child support amounts for each parent. The most important factors that go into the calculation include:

  1. the number of children affected by the divorce,
  2. the income of each parent, and
  3. the child custody arrangement.

Other factors that will be considered in the calculation of child support in California include each parent’s:

  1. Self-employment and W2 wages;
  2. Disability income;
  3. Worker’s compensation;
  4. Interest income and dividends;
  5. Mortgage payments;
  6. Property tax payments;
  7. Existing child-support responsibilities for other children;
  8. Health insurance premiums and costs;
  9. Union dues;
  10. Mandatory minimum retirement contributions; and
  11. Additional income from new spouses or partners.

The amount of time a parent spends with a child can also be a factor in the determination of child support. Parents who have visitation rights may be required to spend money to:

  1. Physically get to their child, or
  2. Bring their child to them.

The more visitation rights a parent has, the more expenses a parent has for that child. These expenses can be considered and reduce the amount of financial child support that will be required to be paid by law.

Note, parents who are denied visitation rights can still be required to pay child support. Failure to pay child support is a crime. You will face criminal charges if you continually fail to meet your child support obligations.

A court will also consider the amount of financial support that will be necessary to ensure the health, well-being, and education of a child. Extraordinary circumstances – such as a physical or mental disability or special education needs – will be factored into the equation.

Child support payments are generally deducted directly from a parent’s source of income. For example, if you earn a standard W2 paycheck you can expect to have your child support obligations deducted directly from your income. If you are collecting disability or worker’s compensation any child support obligations will be deducted from those amounts before they are sent to you. Child support payments are deposited directly with the custodial parent. This prevents a non-custodial parent with child support obligations from withholding child support payments.

If you and your child’s parent are considering a divorce it is important to understand how that process will affect your child. Hiring a good divorce lawyer may be a good first step to help you resolve any outstanding issues like child support. Get more information by visiting


5 Tips for Anyone That Wants to Know About Child Support

If you have kids and are going through a divorce, then child support will be an integral part of the divorce proceedings. It can also be a costly one for the parent that is ordered to pay child support. That is because children are expensive to support. So if you want to ensure that you are not going to be overpaying your child support, you will need to know all the details about it first.

There are a few tips that you should know about if you are going to be paying child support. So be sure to keep these various tips in mind, especially if you are currently paying child support to your ex-spouse.

  1. If you have another child, you may end up lowering your child support obligations for your previous child. The number of children that you have is an important factor that the courts may consider to determine the amount that you have to pay for monthly child support.
  2. You can also decrease your child support obligations if you spend more time with your child. If you are co-parenting your child with your ex-spouse, the amount of time that each of you spends with your children may affect child support obligations. If you care for your child more, such as by providing them with shelter and food, you could end up decreasing the amount you will have to pay for child support.
  3. You will not be paying child support for the entire time that your child is alive. In California, child support stops when the child reaches 18 years of age, unless they are still in high school. If they child is still in high school, then it terminates when the child turns 19 or graduates, whichever comes first.
  4. You should always pay your monthly obligations for child support. You may end up going through a lot of consequences if you miss child support payments. Depending on where you live, you could have your driver’s license revoked, or even have your passport revoked as well. So you should always try to meet your child support payments on time.
  5. You can file for a decrease in your child support payments if your circumstances have changed. For example, if you have lost your job or if you are going through bankruptcy. You can petition the court to lower the amount you have to pay for monthly child support.

In general, all of these tips are applicable for any divorce case. Each state may have different specifics when it comes to child support laws, however, they are mostly following the same idea. So you should be able to use these child support tips wherever you are.

Following these different kinds of tips, you may actually be able to potentially lower your child support obligations. So it can be quite helpful if you take these different tips to heart. You could actually negotiate a lower child support payment if you follow these different kinds of tips.