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