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Calculating Child Support in California

  • Child support in California is determined once a decision has been made on how much time a child will spend with each parent. When calculating child support in California, the court is going to look at a variety of factors, including the gross income of each parent, available tax deductions that parents can claim, and the needs of the child.

    There is a child support calculator that can be used to get an idea of what each parent will need to pay, but there are a number of extenuating factors that can go into the final determination. A judge has the authority to order child support based on those factors.


    Wages Are Factored In

    The court can look at various sources of income that include any of the following:

    • Wages or salary
    • Self-employment income
    • Unemployment compensation
    • Taxable disability income
    • Nontaxable income
    • Passive income from real estate and other investments
    • The income of a new spouse
    • Public assistance and child support currently received



    Deductions can be used to reduce a parent's total monthly income. They can include the following:

    • Child support paid for other children
    • Spousal support paid
    • Property taxes
    • Mortgage interest
    • Union dues
    • Health insurance cost
    • Retirement contributions
    • Job-related expenses
    • Taxes

    Also, the court might reduce the amount of total child support that has to be paid based on other children in the household and the financial hardship it would create to care for them while also paying support.

    The court may also make a low-income adjustment.


    Needs of the Child

    Sometimes, the court will order an increase in child support—even after it has been established—to pay for things like special education expenses, unexpected medical expenses, college tuition, and so on. In this case, one or both parents may petition the court for a change in the child support arrangement.


    Child Support Is Not Set Forever

    Even though the amount of child support that is owed will be set at the time of the divorce, it can change if one or both parties petitions the court. Typically, this occurs because of a change in circumstances regarding how much time a child is spending with each parent, loss of employment, unique and new needs of the child, or something similar.


    Family Lawyer in Southern California

    Hiring a family law attorney is the best way to ensure that you are treated fairly when calculating child support in California.

    You can speak with a family lawyer by contacting the Law Office of Laurence J. Brock through our website or by calling 909-466-7661. Schedule your free consultation today.