Child support is the amount of money the court orders one parent to pay the other parent every month for the support of the child or children. California has a formula (called a “guideline”) for figuring out how much child support should be paid in all cases.
Child support payments are usually made until children turn 18 or 19 if they are still in high school full time, living at home, and can’t support themselves. Parents may agree to support a child longer. The court may also order that both parents continue to support a disabled adult child that is not self-supporting.
Although child support is based on guidelines set forth in the California Family Code, there are many factors that can affect the ultimate amount of support. Understanding the nuances of child support laws can often help either the payor or the payee benefit from child support litigation.
HOW IS CHILD SUPPORT CALCULATED?
California has a statewide formula (called a “guideline”) for figuring out how much child support should be paid.
If parents can’t agree on child support, the judge will decide the child support amount based on the guideline calculation.
The guideline calculation depends on:
- How much money the parents earn or can earn,
- How much other income each parent receives,
- How many children these parents have together,
- How much time each parent spends with their children,
- The actual tax filing status of each parent,
- Support of children from other relationships,
- Health insurance expenses,
- Mandatory union dues,
- Mandatory retirement contributions,
- The cost of sharing daycare and uninsured health-care costs,
- Other factors.
Once again, child support payments are usually made until children turn 18 or 19 if they are still in high school full time, living at home, and can’t support themselves. Parents may agree to support a child longer. The court may also order that both parents continue to support a disabled adult child that is not self-supporting.
The amount of support to be paid by one parent to the other is based on established guidelines, as shown above. Computer programs are available for helping parents to determine who will pay such support, and how much is to be paid. Significant factors include each parent’s income and the amount of time each of you spends caring for the children. This is a very complicated area and usually is the cause for much disagreements between the parties. In order to insure that either you receive the proper amount of child support or to insure that you pay the proper amount of child support you may want to consult with an attorney trained in this area.
Such support need not be reported as income for federal and state tax purposes, and the parent paying such support is not entitled to a tax deduction.
If necessary, you may request a wage assignment order. This is an order that requires a parent’s employer to make child support payments directly to the parent entitled to receive support.
At the Law Office of Mark A. Reed we are specially trained in all areas of family law, including child and spousal support. Please contact us for a free consultation. 858-277-0232.