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What factors determine child support?

There are many factors to have concerns about when getting a divorce. Numerous personal matters will change, and you may have specific concerns about how your finances will change after you end your marriage. This issue affects many people, and if you have children, you may wonder about child support in particular.

Whether you anticipate receiving child support or having to pay it, you likely want to know what the court will consider when determining a support amount. Though California has its own method for determining child support, some common factors span across the country.

What will determine your outcomes?

Your child custody arrangements will play a role in determining who pays support and who receives it. For instance, if you obtain custody of your kids, the noncustodial parent will likely have the obligation of paying support to you. However, support can still apply in joint custody arrangements as well. The amount of support for a joint custody arrangement would depend on what percentage of time the children spend with each parent and how much each parent earns.

When it comes to determining support for a sole custody arrangement, the following factors are often considered:

  • The income and needs of the custodial parent
  • The child's standard of living before the divorce
  • The financial needs of the child
  • The noncustodial parent's income and ability to pay

Providing your financial information to the court will likely be a step you take so that an assessment of your financial affairs can take place. The court will consider the net income of each parent, which they arrive at by making mandatory deductions. Still, even after you provide that information, the court could arrive at a child support amount that you feel does not suit the circumstances.

Can you change the order?

If you do not feel satisfied with the child support order, it likely cannot be changed right away. However, if you experience a significant change in circumstances, you may be able to petition the court for a support modification.

As you work through this part of your divorce case, you may want to ensure that you understand how specific California laws regarding child support will affect your case. Working with an experienced family law attorney could help you obtain reliable information and have any questions you have about the process answered.

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