How Is Child Support Calculated in California?

Child Support

The Duty to Pay Child Support

All parents are legally obligated to provide their children with adequate support, so they have the financial means to secure necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and schooling. This duty arises from the parent-child relationship. As a result, one’s marital is irrelevant to a child’s right to receive financial support from their parents. Therefore, divorce does not create child support obligations—parenthood does.

Generally, parents who live together as a married couple and jointly provide for their child are considered to have satisfied their legal duty to provide their child with needed support. However, most cases involving child support involve a child’s separated or divorced parents because one parent typically does not live with the child.

California’s Child Support Guidelines

Child support is calculated based on both parent’s income and wealth. In California, child support is determined according to statutory guidelines outlined in the California Family Code. These guidelines were established for the purpose of ensuring that a child receives the same financial support as they would if their parents still lived together.

California Family Code § 4055 provides specific guidelines for calculating child support, including the following formula:

“CS=K[HN – (H%)(TN)]”

Section 4055(b)(1) defines the formula’s components as follows:

  • “CS = child support amount.
  • K = amount of both parents’ income to be allocated for child support as set forth in paragraph (3).
  • HN = high earner’s net monthly disposable income.
  • H% = approximate percentage of time that the high earner has or will have primary physical responsibility for the children compared to the other parent. In cases in which parents have different time-sharing arrangements for different children, H% equals the average of the approximate percentages of time the high earner parent spends with each child.
  • TN = total net monthly disposable income of both parties.”

Furthermore, the amount produced by Section 4055’s formula is multiplied accordingly:

  • Times 1.6 for: 2 children
  • Times 2 for: 3 children
  • Times 2.3 for: 4 children
  • Times 2.5 for: 5 children
  • Times 2.625 for: 6 children
  • Times 2.75 for: 7 children
  • Times 2.813 for: 8 children
  • Times 2.844 for: 9 children
  • Times 2.86 for: 120 children

Need Legal Advice? Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff Today!

Are you concerned about your legal rights and responsibilities with regard to a child support obligation issued by a California court? For a better understanding of your legal obligations arising from a child support order in California, you should seek the experienced legal counsel of the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff. You can count on my years of experience and background as an attorney to help protect your legal rights and your family’s interests when it comes to family law issues such as child support.

To discuss your legal concerns, please call my office at (805) 633-4999 or request a free consultation online today.

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