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How to Calculate Child Support

You can use the state of California's Guideline Calculator to get an estimate of what your child support amount will likely be. It is important to remember that this is simply an estimate, and that is best to consult with a trained lawyer when determining how you may be affected by a child support order. Parents who are dealing with child support cases should be aware of how these support amounts are determined under the statewide guideline (or the state's child support formula).

The process starts with determining the net disposable income (or income after taxes and deductions) of each parent. There are, however, many other factors that come into play. Here is a list of some of the main factors that are considered when the court sets the child support amount:

  • The amount of money each parent earns or is able to earn (including alternative sources of income)
  • The number of children the parents have together
  • The time-share arrangement (the amount of time the child spends with each parent)
  • Whether either of the parents is supporting any children from other relationships
  • Expenses for things like health insurance and child care
  • Each parent's tax filing status

The family court will almost always rely on the amount calculated by the state guideline when issuing a child support order. (This formula does not need to be used if the parents reach their own agreement and have it approved by the court.) The only time a judge can order a support amount that does not follow the guideline is in certain special circumstances, such as when the child legally has more than two parents, or when such a support order would lead to extreme hardship to any child supported by the parent.

Even when one parent is ordered to pay child support, there may be certain expenses that both parents must share, such as the child's education costs, reasonable health care costs, child care costs and the costs of transporting the child from one parent to the other. It is important to note that as a parent's time-share increases, the amount of child support he or she must pay usually decreases.

In addition to regular pay, sources of income that may be counted in the calculation process include overtime pay, bonuses, commissions and other forms of supplemental income that occurs on a regular basis. There are certain types of income that will not be counted, including money from Social Security Income (SSI), CalWorks and General Assistance/General Relief.

Do you need help calculating the amount of child support that you may be ordered to pay or receive? If so, you should bring your matter to my law firm, The Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. I am a Covina divorce attorney who can help you properly assess your situation. I can also assist you with any arguments you wish to make before the court when your child support arrangements are being decided. Contact The Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.!

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