How the Courts Calculate Child Support in California
California law sets specific guidelines that courts must follow when determining
how much child support is necessary in a given case.
- The Court Will Consider Factors Including:
- 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.
Under California child support laws, "gross income" includes:
- A salary and wages
- Commissions and bonuses
- Income from a rental property
- Social security benefits
- Disability benefits
- Income from the ownership of a business
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.
How Does the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act Enforce Child Support?
According to the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, an extensive law that
governs divorce, alimony, property distribution, child custody, and child
support, parents are liable for applying a certain amount of money towards
living requirements for a child after parents have separated or divorced.
Judges will determine the amount necessary after evaluating the psychological,
physical, and emotional conditions of a child and their health and education
needs. Other expenses, such as those that may incur as a result of extracurricular
activities, will also be considered by a judge when determining child
support period payments.
What are the Consequences for a Violation of Child Support?
In some divorce and legal separation cases, one parent is deemed the financial
provider and must provide regular payments for child support. If the parent
violates the child support agreement as ordered by a judge, that parent
can be held in contempt of court and may face costly fees and may even
be incarcerated. Federal law makes it illegal for a parent to willfully
refuse child support responsibilities and payments. Those guilty of such
infractions may even face prison sentences of up to two years if the offense
is proven to be a criminal felony offense.
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®.
For timely and cost-effective solutions that you can count on,
contact us today.