Determining Child Support Payments in California

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If you are going through a divorce in California, or considering filing for divorce, and you have children from the marriage, you may be wondering about the cost of child support and whether or not you are even required to pay it. If your child is a minor, and you are the income-generating parent, you will likely be responsible for child support. Be aware that the courts take child support very seriously. California has laws in place to ensure that neither parent is being taken advantage of in any way. Your Los Angeles family lawyer will also work with you to establish equitable child support payments.

As a parent, you want to do your part to guarantee that your children are well taken care and that they receive everything that is necessary for them to lead happy and healthy lives. At the same time, you likely want to make sure that the amount being paid is correct.

How is Child Support Determined in California?

In California, child support is based on a complex calculation that takes into consideration:

  • Parents’ incomes,
  • How much time each parent spends with the child,
  • Child care expenses,
  • Home mortgage payments,
  • Tax filing status of each parent, and
  • Other costs that determine the family’s financial situation.

Tax deductions available to either parent are also a factor. Not that this formula is applied whenever the support of a minor child is to be determined, including in dissolutions (divorces), paternity, and domestic partnership cases.

Is There a Formula for Calculating Child Support in California?

California courts believes that a parent’s “first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children according to the parent’s situation and station in life” and that “both parents are mutually responsible to support their children.” With that in mind, all California family law judges and courts follow the same guidelines when calculating child support. While you and your spouse are responsible for providing the information input into this program, an experienced Los Angeles family law attorney will negotiate certain items with your spouse to ensure the proper child is received each month.

It is important for both parents to understand that even though there are guidelines for child support in California, many of the inputs are subject to interpretation. This is where a skilled divorce attorney will be able to work with you to protect your interests and ensure that either you are not paying more child support than necessary or that your spouse is not paying less than your children deserve.

For more information on how child support is determined in California, or to discuss re-negotiating your child support payments, contact the family law experts at Walzer Melcher LLP today.