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Child support is one of the most important things to discuss when a couple divorces. Children are the future and regardless of your feelings for each other, children are to be protected. That does not make it any less complicated to determine though. California has a minimum child support guideline to ensure that parents each pay their fair share.

The minimum amount paid varies based on an equation of set factors. The guideline is in place so that children receive an appropriate amount as determined by the state of California.

There are several underlying principles at play beyond the responsibility both parents share for their children. The amount determined should be sufficient for the support of said children. There are few exceptions to these guidelines. The orders issued also make certain that payments are on time, sufficient, and fair.

Guideline factors

  • Each parent’s gross annual income
  • Potential tax deductions
  • Childcare costs
  • The amount of time each parent will have custody of the child
  • Mandatory deductions from payroll for parents
  • How many children they share

This formula for child support generates the value of child support in relation to finances.

The actual formula

K (HN – (H%) (TN)) = CS

  • K is the combined total income of the parents
  • HN stands for high net meaning: disposable income from the higher earning parent
  • H% is the percentage of time in which the higher earning parent intends to have full responsibility in caring for them. In the event that both parents share custody equally, the percentage is 50%. In the event that there is a discrepancy in time spent with each, individual child, H% is different for each child.
  • TN is the equivalent of disposable income for each parent combined.
  • CS is the amount of child support with all of the factors determined

This formula results in the parent with the higher income paying the difference in the total costs of childcare. It also includes an approximation of the amount of care provided to the child when in the custodial position. The greater the gap in income, the higher the payment from the primary income producer.

This formula is complicated, but there is a calculator for it online provided by The California Department of Child Support Services. Simply input the data and you will get a rough idea of the amount.

The rare exceptions

Judges can only deviate from the results of the formula in specific circumstances. They are:

  • The higher income parent makes so much that the child support amount is greater than the needs of the child
  • Parents fail to contribute to the children’s needs appropriately in regards to the time spent with sole custody
  • The custody is divided 50/50 and a discrepancy in housing expenses exists between the parents.
  • Special needs children which require support greater than the calculated amount

These are exceptions, but judges may also order added support related to educational, healthcare, employment, and expenses for visitation travel. These additional expenses are shared by parents equally. Spousal support may also impact the amounts of the added support. 

Farbod Majd Esq.
Divorce Attorney w/ offices in Beverly Hills/Los Angeles
Services in English, Turkish, and Farsi/Persian (Iranian/American Lawyer)

8383 Wilshire Blvd Suite 646, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

310.956.4600 | Fax: 310.878.8989 | [email protected]