Calculating child support under California guidelines is a complicated process. The courts rely on a set formula to calculate child support and decide which parent will pay and how much they will pay. Read on to learn more about how to calculate child support under California guidelines.

How is California Child Support Calculated?

In California, child support is based on a complicated formula that takes into consideration the parents’ incomes, the amount of time each parent spends with their child, and tax deductions applicable to each parent. Child support is applied when support of a minor is determined as a result of marital dissolution, paternity, or domestic partnership dissolution.

When calculating child support under California guidelines. California law mandates that both parents are mutually required to support their child according to each parent’s station in life. Child support is based on a complicated formula:

CS = K (HN – (H%) (TN))

  • CS stands for the child support amount.
  • K represents the combined total of each parent’s income.
  • HN stands for the monthly disposable income of the parent who earns more money.
  • H stands for the amount of time the high earner parent will spend with the child compared to the other parent
  • TN represents the combined total net monthly disposable income of both parents.

To decide the amount of child support a parent will pay, the court must have the following information:

  1. Each parent’s gross income
  2. The percentage of time each parent spends with their child
  3. Income tax deductions each parent can claim
  4. Mandatory payroll deductions such as health care costs, pensions, and union dues
  5. Childcare costs incurred by the parents

In contested proceedings, Judges are required to order the guideline level of child support unless there is a good reason why a different amount of child support is appropriate. Use this free calculator to determine a rough estimate of how much child support you may be required to pay or receive. The payment of child support continues until a child reaches 18-years of age. Child support orders can be modified. The parties, however, can agree between themselves to a child support order that is higher or lower than California guideline support. They can also mutually agree between themselves that neither party pays child support.

Is My Spouse’s Income Included When Calculating Child Support Under California Guidelines?

When calculating child support under California guidelines, both parents’ income is included. The court bases child support on a parent’s “net disposable income.” This is the parent’s net income after state and federal taxes are paid. The court may also consider any income a parent receives as a bonus or commission. The following income is not counted when determining a child support obligation:

  1. CalWORKs
  2. General Assistance
  3. Supplementary Security Income

Do Living Expenses Affect Child Support Calculations?

Most living expenses have no affect whatsoever on the calculation or determination of child support. The court considers the paying parent’s gross income from all sources less any mandatory deductions such as income taxes, social security, health care, and mandatory union dues. Deductions for wage attachments are typically not considered when calculating net income. For example, Frederick’s  income is $4,000 per month, and his net income is $3,300 after income tax, social security, unemployment insurance benefits, and mandatory union dues are paid. In addition, Frederick has $250 deducted from his earnings to pay a past due payday loan. The fact that he is paying on this loan will not reduce his income for child support calculation purposes. His other living expenses such as rent, food, clothing, car insurance etc. will also have no bearing on the amount of support ordered. If a parent is paying child or spousal support for another relationship, that will be taken into consideration.

How Does Overtime Affect Child Support Calculations?

Clients often ask how their overtime affects child support calculations. In today`s economy, often parents are forced to work overtime just to make ends meet. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, overtime and other supplemental or non-wage income is taken into consideration when calculating child support. There must be a history of the parent working overtime when projecting future income for purposes of guideline support.  If the payor parent receives overtime pay, he/she will pay a higher amount in monthly child support based on calculations of that parent’s base pay plus their regular overtime.

A People’s Choice has helped thousands of parents get a new order for child support or modify an existing child support. When parents agree, we can help to prepare a stipulation so that an order for support can be entered without either party ever appearing at a hearing. If you want to find out what California guideline support would be in your particular situation, call us today. We can run a guideline support report for you based upon several different scenarios. Call us today at 800-747-2780 or contact us through our website.

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