Calculating Child Support in California

Father & Kids

Father & Kids

The state of California has a clear set of guidelines for child support. In calculating child support, a formula (called “guideline”) is used for figuring out how much child support should be paid. If the parties cannot agree on child support, the judge will decide the amount based on the guideline.

1. The Calculation is governed the California Family Code

California Family Code Section 4050 is what governs how child support is calculated.

2. The guideline calculation depends upon the below factors

* How much money the parents earn or are able to earn  * How much other income each parent receives  * How many children these parents have together  * How much time each parent spends with their children  * The actual tax filing status of each parent  * Support of children from other relationships  * Health insurance expenses  *Mandatory union dues  * Mandatory retirement contributions  * The cost of sharing daycare and uninsured health-care costs, and  * Other factors

3. Child support may also include the costs of any special needs

The Court may also include costs of necessary special needs of the parties. This is to ensure that all equitable factors are considered. These additional factors are:

* Traveling for visitation from one location to another (parents live far apart)

* Educational and related expenses, and

* Other special needs

4. To calculate estimated child support, use the California Guideline Child Support Calculator

The State of California provides extensive self help for divorcing spouses. To calculate estimated child support, click on: or go to:

The User Guide should be read carefully before trying to calculate support. To understand how to fill in the information, it is important to download the User Guide:

Keep in mind that the amount the judge orders for child support may be different based on information from the other parent or other factors that affect child support.

5. When can child support be changed?

Whenever there is a “change of circumstances”, you can seek to modify support. Double check your calculations before seeking a modification. However, if the judge ordered a child support amount below the guideline amount, you can ask to change that amount at any time. A change in circumstances is not necessary.

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