Calculating Child Support in California

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Calculating Child Support in California

California courts use an algebraic equation to calculate the amount due for child support. This formula was determined by a state law.

The Child Support Formula

The formula for calculating child support in California is:

CS = K[HN-(H%)(TN)]

CS = Total child support owed
K = A factor of both parents’ income allocated for child support. This varies based on the number of children involved.
HN = The highest earner’s net disposable income
H% = The highest earner’s approximate percentage of time in which he or she has physical custody of the child
TN = Both parties’ combined net disposable income

An online calculator version of this formula can be found at the California Department of Child Support Services.

However, this formula is not absolute. The court will consider other special circumstances in your life and your child’s life.

California courts will assume that the number reached by applying this formula is the correct one. However, they have some discretion to increase or lower the amount of child support paid if the circumstances warrant it.

Parents Can Agree to a Different Amount

The parties may also come to an agreement amongst themselves concerning child support, if the court determines that the amount is sufficient to provide for the child.

Income Deductions for Child Support

Some deductions may be made, such as union dues, state and federal income tax, and health insurance premiums. Also, child support paid to another party may be deducted.

Consulting an Attorney

A qualified California family lawyer may assist you in calculating the appropriate child support amount you seek. They will know what deductions you are qualified to make and what special circumstances that will get more child support. Lastly, a lawyer advocate on your behalf.

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Last Modified: 03-19-2014 12:04 PM PDT

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