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Joseph R. Zoucha, Attorney & Counselor at Law

How much child support will I owe?

If you are going through a divorce, and you have a child, it is possible that you will have to pay child support to your ex to ensure that your child's needs are being met. Generally, if your ex is granted physical custody of your child, you will have to contribute financially as the non-custodial parent. The child support payments you make every month will go towards the child's food, clothing, school supplies, extra-curricular activities, transportation, and other necessities.

Many divorcing parents wonder exactly how much they will be expected to pay in child support each month. In most cases, the court will first consider the income of each parent, including wages from a job, commissions and bonuses, self-employment earnings, worker's compensation benefits, disability benefits, Social Security, pensions, and even lottery prize winnings. The court will then likely subtract taxes, mandatory retirement contributions, and health premiums from the total income of each parent to determine each parent's net disposable income.

Once the court has determined how much net disposable income each parent has, it will then look at the parenting time arrangement to determine the amount of time each parent spends with the child. The court will also consider the needs of the child in question and the child's standard of living before the divorce. The court will most likely attempt to maintain the child's pre-divorce standard of living, if it is possible to do so.

Understanding California child support guidelines and calculating the amount of child support you will owe can be difficult without the help of a family law attorney who has experience handling child custody and support issues. Your attorney will be able to review your case and give you an idea of how much you will likely have to pay, as well as present arguments on your behalf in an attempt to lessen a potential child support order or modify an existing order.

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