Calculating Child Support

How much will my child support be?

To determine the correct child support amount, the court uses a "statewide uniform guideline formula".  The most important components of the fomula are:

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  • the number of children involved
  • both parents' incomes
  • the amount of time each parent spends with the child ("visitation")

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  • How is income used in the calculation?

    The guideline formula uses both parents’ average after-tax income. Income is money from almost any source including, but not limited to:

    • Wages (including tips, bonuses, commissions)
    • Self-employment
    • Unemployment benefits
    • Certain disability benefits
    • Worker's Compensation
    • Interest income on savings accounts and other investments
    • The judge may impute income to either parent. Imputed income is the amount of money a parent is able to earn, instead of the parent’s actual income.

    The following are deducted from earnings:

    • Taxes
    • Mandatory union dues and retirement contributions
    • Health insurance
    • Child and spousal support ordered and being paid

    The court may allow deductions such as:

    • Job-related expenses
    • Extraordinary health expenses
    • Uninsured major losses
    • Expenses of either parent’s other child(ren)


  • How does visitation affect the calculation?

    Time the child spends with each parent is a factor used to calculate child support. DCSS considers the actual amount of time spent with each parent rather than the amount of time granted in a custody and visitation or other court-orders. This ensures that child support orders are right-sized for the current circumstances and needs of the parties.

    When the amount of time spent with either parent changes, that information should be reported to DCSS as a change in circumstance.

  • How is the amount of child support determined?

    Child support is determined using guidelines established by California law. The most important factors are:

    • each parent's monthly income
    • the amount of time the child spends with each parent.
  • How can I get my child support amount changed?

    Contact DCSS to request the order be reviewed for a modification. Either parent can request a modification review.


To run an estimate of your support click here.