Palmer Rodak & Associates
Palmer Rodak & Associates
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How does California determine how much is owed in child support?

If you are a California resident, a parent and are headed for divorce, you may be trying to get an idea of how much you may have to pay in child support, or how much you may receive. While the amount that is ultimately determined will depend on numerous factors, the California Department of Child Support Services’ Child Support Handbook outlines how the state typically comes up with the amount of child support that must be paid.

The state relies on a complex list of figures to determine child support, and factors that will be taken into account include which parent spends more time with your child, how much you and your former spouse earn for a living and whether either of you has tax deductions available. To put it in simpler terms, the amount of child support you can expect to pay or receive tends to increase when there is a substantial difference in the incomes of you and your ex-partner, and when the party who earns sufficiently more spends less time with your child or children.

There are, however, several situations that may lead the court to deviate from the standard method of calculation. You may receive or have to pay more in child support if your child has a condition that requires considerable medical care. On the flipside, you or your former spouse may have to pay less if you share parenting time equally, but the parent paying support has an income so high that the formula would generate an amount considerably higher than what your child would reasonably need.

The amount of child support determined by the standard calculation may, too, be deviated from if you share parenting time equally, but one of you pays considerably more for rent or a mortgage than the other. Another reason California may deviate from the standard calculation used to find child support is if it is determined that you or your former spouse is not providing for your child’s needs in a manner that is proportionate to the amount of time spent with the child.

This information is meant to educate you, but it is not intended to be taken as legal advice. 

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Palmer Rodak & Associates
Certified Family Law Specialists State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

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