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What factors are considered when determining child support?

If you have recently gone through the divorce process in California, or you are in the middle of negotiating a divorce settlement, you may be familiar with calculating child support. Child support is designed to bridge the gap children may experience as they move from a two-parent household to a one-parent living arrangement. There are different models of child support, and California has adopted the Income Shares Model. The idea is that children deserve to live with the same financial stability that they would experience had their parents remained together.

According to California Statutes, child support guidelines are set in place with the understanding that both parents are responsible for the financial and emotional support of the children. When determining child support, both parents’ gross income is calculated, and the amount of support owed is based off of the pooled income amount. The formula also takes into consideration the disposable income of each party.

Other factors a judge may consider when setting child support include the following:

  •          The amount of time the child spends with each parent
  •          Traveling expenses when transporting the child during parental visits
  •          Each parents’ job and earning potential
  •          The health, age and financial stability of each parent

In addition to the base child support amount, non-custodial parents are often ordered to pay half of all medical expenses, educational costs, child care and recreational activities. It is important to keep in mind that child support amounts may be modified if a change in life should occur, such as a job loss.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.