Elite Lawyers
Lawyers of Distinction
Association of American Trial Lawyers
Santa Clara County Bar Association

How is Child Support Calculated in the State of California?

Child support consists of monthly payments established in a divorce agreement. The goal of child support is to help the parent with the majority of parenting time cover the costs of raising a child. These payments are usually received by the parent with custody of the child, since the law assumes that they are the one who spends the most on raising the child. Generally, the parent with less parenting time pays child support, but the court may decide that both parents should share it equally.

Up to What Age is Child Support Paid?

As a general rule, child support must be paid up until the child turns 18 and becomes the age of majority. However, there are exceptions when payment must continue beyond this point. For example, the child may get the payments until age 19 if the child is still in high school and lives with only one parent. Parents can also agree on the length of time support will last in their divorce agreement.

Another exception is that if the child has become self-sufficient, marries, or joins the military. Then the support period may be shortened. On the other hand, the court may also decide to extend the maintenance period if the child has a disability, even going so far as to opt for sustained maintenance.

Child Support Calculation in California

The total amount of the child support payment will depend on the guidelines of the state of California. These guidelines are based on a mathematical formula that includes a number of factors. The main factor in this is the net disposable income of both parents. A net income is the difference between gross income and deductions that are directed toward child support costs.

When the net income of the parents is calculated, the tribunal begins to consider a list of things necessary for the calculation, including:

  • The number of children who need support
  • The time-sharing agreement between the parents (custody)
  • The tax obligations of the parents
  • If a parent already supports existing children from another relationship
  • The mandatory retirement contributions from parents and other work-related expenses

There is also the option for parents to pay higher amounts, and, in specific situations, pay lower amounts. In both cases, the court must approve a support agreement between the parents.

Collecting Child Support in California

When the judge has issued the child support order, the parent designated to pay must provide the agreed amount. Support can be paid in different ways: direct deposit, cash, check, or other approved methods. In the event that the custodial parent refuses to pay support, the court can be asked to have the payments deducted directly from the parent's wages.

Modification of the Amount of Child Support

Once the support agreement is made, there is the possibility of modifying the established amount. Modifications may be to increase or decrease the final amount of support, depending on the case. One of the most common reasons for requesting a change in the amount is for when the parent paying the support suddenly loses his job. A modification may also be requested if the father has a child with another partner or custody times change dramatically.

Going Through a Divorce and Need Advice About Child Support?

During and after the divorce process, calculations and support payments can be a somewhat overwhelming process. At SAC Attorneys LLP, we understand that advice in this type of case may be necessary for you and that is why we offer you a free, no-risk consultation to learn more about how to handle this process in an easier way. To learn more, please contact us today.

Client Reviews
"Dennis is one of the best attorneys I have experienced. He is professional, honest and courteous. I would highly recommend him to anyone seeking a good business and family attorney!" J.Z.
"Dennis is an excellent attorney. He works with you, he is affordable. He also responds within 24 hours and keeps you updated on your case. I'm referring him to all my friends and family." C.C.
"Dennis is a fantastic attorney, he is very knowledgeable about family law and helped me so much!" P.C.