How Is California Child Support Determined?

January 16, 2019
Picture of calculator and pen on paper

Under the California Family Code, California outlines child support guidelines for court-ordered child support. The amount of child support is based on a complex mathematic formula that takes into account both parents’ net disposable income after a variety of deductions. In addition, the calculation also takes into account the amount of time each parent spends with his or her child.

The California Department of Child Support Services offers an online calculator to estimate the amount of child support that could be ordered in a person’s case. Their online calculator is based on California’s child support guidelines.

Are There Exceptions to California’s Child Support Formula Calculation?

Yes, there are exceptions. Though the court is required to use the formula’s calculation, the judge has the final authority in regard to the amount of child support a person must pay. There are special circumstances when the court can choose an amount different than the formula’s calculation.

Under California Family Code 4057, the court could order an amount different than the formula amount if:

  • The party to pay child support has an income that would exceed the child’s needs;
  • The parties use separate visitation schedules for different children;
  • Both parties have equal time with their child, but one party has a significantly lower or higher percentage of income used for housing.
  • One party is not contributing to the child’s needs proportionate to the time he or she spends with the child;
  • The child has special needs;
  • The child has more than two parents.

In addition, the court may order additional child support that regard a child’s:

  • Education or training related to employment skills;
  • Costs of health insurance;
  • Educational or special needs;
  • Travel expenses for visitation.

Need a San Jose Child Support Lawyer?

California’s child support guidelines are complex and can be hard to understand. If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities under California law, our family law attorney could help.

Contact the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich today at (408) 404-8656 to discuss your situation. We have more than a decade of experience helping families in San Jose and the surrounding Bay Area. You can also fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.