How is Child Support Calculated?

How is Child Support Calculated?

In California, both parents of a minor child are responsible in financially supporting their child. Child support is the ongoing monetary expenditures and payments needed to cover a child’s living and medical expenses. So how is child support determined in California? The law provides guidelines based on each parent’s net disposable monthly income and the percentage of time each parent cares for the child in order to set appropriate child support payment amounts. The income considered comes from of a variety of sources, including:

  • Wages
  • Tips, Commissions, and Bonuses
  • Self-employment earnings
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Disability and workers’ compensation benefits
  • Interest
  • Dividends
  • Rental income
  • Social security or pensions
  • Payments or credits due

Certain items will be deducted from your income in order to determine the amount of net disposable income. These items include: taxes, mandatory union dues, mandatory retirement contributions, health premiums, child or spousal support actually being paid, and the cost of raising children from prior relationships. There is no deduction made for either parent’s living expenses.

While you can use these guidelines to estimate the amount of child support that may be ordered in your case, you also have the option of making your own determination with your spouse regarding an appropriate amount. Parents can attend mediation in order to reach an agreement on a child support figure that is below or above the guidelines provided by California law. If you and your spouse agree on a mutual settlement, the mediated agreement is filed and will be legally enforceable if either party fails to honor its terms. Contact us today for a free initial consultation on how divorce mediation can help you and your family.

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