The good news about computing California child support is that it is not as complicated as it might seem. The Judicial Council has approved the use of child support calculation software such as Dissomaster. The California child support guideline takes into account the relative incomes of the parties and timeshare each parent has with the child(ren).
The following is a brief overview of how child support is calculated and the factors the court takes into consideration when determining income for guideline child support.
Both mothers and fathers share equal responsibility to provide for the child. Under Family Code 3901 that obligation continues until the child who isn’t self supporting ends full-time high school or turns 19, whichever occurs first.
California family courts follow standard state guidelines for child support. In most situations, the calculation of child support is based on the incomes of both parents and the amount of time the child spends at each residence. Time share is the percentage of time that a parent has primary physical responsibility for the child.
California statutes detail what income the Court considers in setting guideline child support. Income includes: salaries, commissions, wages, bonuses, trust income, annuities, royalties, rents, worker’s comp, unemployment, disability insurance benefits, spousal support from another case, and social security. Family Code 4058.
Courts may adjust for seasonal or fluctuating income. Family Code 4064
Case law clarifies whether the court may consider certain items as part of income available for guideline child support. The following cases address commonly asked questions. Cases are cited without legal citations.
The court has the discretion to vary from the guidelines if a child’s needs or the resources or situation of a parent are exceptional (as in high-earner situations). The court may take into consideration a party’s earning capacity consistent with a child’s best interests. Family Code 4058(b).
By statute, the Court can address child support add-ons such as child care costs, reasonable uninsured health care costs, educational needs and travel expenses. Family Code 4062
The above statutes and cases are provided for general educational purposes and are not intended as specific legal advice for any particular case.