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Joseph R. Zoucha, Attorney & Counselor at Law

How is child support calculated in California?

Children deserve the support of both of their parents -- both emotional support and financial support. For this reason, if a child's parents are divorced, one parent will usually be ordered to pay child support to the other parent. These payments are very important, as they are meant to help with the child's many financial needs, from everyday expenses, to school fees, to health care expenses and more.

The state of California has a formula for calculating how much child support is owed. Referred to as a "guideline," this formula is what a judge will use to determine how much child support to award a parent. The guideline takes into account numerous factors to determine how much child support is appropriate.

Each parents' income is considered. How many children the parents have together will also be considered. The amount of time each parent has the child in their care (their time-sharing schedule) is another consideration. Each parents' tax filing status is also included in the guideline. Whether a parent is financially supporting a child from another relationship will be considered. Any health insurance expenses each parent incurs will be considered, as will other mandatory expenses such as union dues and retirement contributions. Child care costs will also be considered.

It is presumed that the amount calculated via these guidelines is correct. However, that presumption can be rebutted in limited circumstances. Parents who have questions about the state's child support guidelines and how they apply to them, or who wish to deviate from the statutory guidelines, can seek legal guidance on the matter.

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