How is Child Support Calculated in California?

How is Child Support Calculated in California?

Posted By Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich || 25-Apr-2018

Every child is entitled to financial support from both of his or her parents. As such, in the event of a divorce or if two parents are not raising a child together, child support is mandated by law.

To ensure that every child has the financial support he or she needs, California has established a standard, complex formula that is used to calculate a parent’s support obligation. This formula generally must be used to figure out the amount of support that is to be paid, and the parents often cannot negotiate a lower support amount amongst themselves when finalizing a divorce settlement.

The Statewide Child Support Guideline can be found at California Family Code Section 4050. There are two purposes for the guideline: to provide for a minimum level of child support for a child and to provide for uniformity in the calculation of child support.

The following factors are considered to determine child support:

  • The gross incomes of each parent
  • The number of children that the parents have together
  • How much time each parent spends with each child
  • Any available income tax deductions that the parents can claim
  • Mandatory payroll deductions, including health insurance and pensions
  • Child care costs incurred by each parent
  • Any children from a previous marriage
  • The income of a new spouse if either of the parents have remarried

The formula California uses to calculate child support is: CS = K (HN – (H%) (TN)). “CS” (i.e. child support) is the calculation once you’ve plugged in all of the information.

The amount should be for one child. If a couple has more than one kid, they must multiply the CS amount by a figure set out in the law, depending on the number of children.

“K” is the combined total of both parents’ income to be allocated for child support. “HN” means high net, which is the monthly disposable income of the parent who earns more money.

“H%” is the approximate percentage of time that the high earner has or will have primary physical responsibility for the children in comparison to the other parent. However, in cases in which parents have different time-sharing arrangements for different children, H% equals the average of the approximate percentages of time the higher earner spends with each child.

“TN” is the combined total net monthly disposable income for both parents.

Simply put, the less time the higher earning parent spends with the children, the more child support the parent will owe.

Once the court determines the proper amount, a child support will be mandated by the judge, and the parent who pays must comply with the order. The order cannot be charged unless there is a situation where there is a “significant material change in circumstances,” such as the paying parent losing his/her job. If the loss in income is significant enough, the court can modify the court order to what the parent can afford until he/she obtains employment.

If you are interested in filing for divorce in Riverside County, contact Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich and request a free consultation with our experienced family law attorney today.

Categories: Child Support