How the Courts Calculate Child Support
California law sets specific guidelines that courts must follow when determining
how much child support is necessary in a given case.
The courts will consider a variety of factors when making a determination,
- The actual or imputed income of each parent
- The number of children in need of support
- The amount of time the child or children spend with each parent
- Any special needs of the child
In order to calculate a parent’s child support obligation, the court
has to determine how much net disposable income the parent has. The court
first looks at gross annual income, which is the total amount of income
the parent makes in one year before taxes. This can include income from
a salary and wages, commissions and bonuses, income from a rental property,
interest, dividends, pensions, social security benefits, disability benefits,
income from the ownership of a business, and more.
Then, the court will deduct certain expenses, including state and federal
tax obligations, necessary job-related expenses, hardships, and more in
order to determine net income. Using this final amount, the court then
follows a state guideline in order to calculate how much support is needed.
A parent must typically make child support payments until the child reaches
18, with some exceptions. Alternatively, parents can agree to their own
child support arrangement without leaving the matter to the court.
The agreement must be submitted to and reviewed by the court for approval
and must state the following information:
- Both parents are aware of their rights and were not forced to enter the agreement
- The parents are not receiving public assistance and have not applied for
- The child support arrangement is in the best interest of the child
- The child’s needs will be met by the support agreement
Because each case is different, it is not possible to state how much support
you will be required to pay without first reviewing your case with an
attorney. However, you can get a general idea of what your obligation
may be using the
California Child Support Guideline Calculator.
Top-Rated San Diego Child Support Attorney
Whether you need assistance with creating an initial child support plan
or are seeking a
modification of an existing order due to a change in circumstances, you can trust in
the team at Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC to guide you through every
step of the process. We have more than 200 years of combined experience
handling family law issues – in fact, we’re known as San Diego’s
Family Law Experts®.
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