5 Factors Courts Consider When Determining Child Support Amounts

Calculating child support in California is a bit of a complex process. In order to ensure a fair amount is ordered, the judge will take several factors into consideration before running the numbers through a calculator. Here are five of the factors the courts consider when determining child support amounts.

1. The parents’ incomes

The judge will want to know how much money you and your former spouse are making. Specifically, you’ll want to be able to show each parent’s gross income as well as any amounts you may each pay for health care, pension, and union dues. These amounts could be found on your paystubs or your end of year tax statement if you’re a W-2 employee. If either of you are self-employed, then a profit and loss statement can show the earnings.

2. How much time each parent spends with the child

The judge will want to know what percentage of time each parent spends with the child. Generally speaking, the more time the higher-earning parent spends with the child, the less child support he or she will have to pay.

3. Any available tax deductions

Tax deductions would include any items like mortgage interest and property tax. Although this may not seem like it fits with establishing your child support amount, the judge is just trying to get a good idea of how much money you may have available to help support your child.

4. Any extraordinary needs of the child

Naturally, if your child has any needs above and beyond the average child, you need to let the judge know. Whether your child is in speech therapy or a travel soccer team, tell the judge. 

Right now, you want to share any information that helps the judge craft a clearer image of what your home life is like. This portrait of your current life establishes a baseline. The judge will then try to ensure enough funds are available for your child to keep living in this way. Also, this is an appropriate time to talk about childcare. If childcare is necessary, inform the judge of the amount and the parent who normally pays.

5. Parents’ tax filing status and other dependents 

The Judge will also take into consideration the parents’ respective tax filing status and any other dependents either may claim. This is because these factors affect their tax liabilities and hence, their respective net disposable income that will then be available for support purposes.

Then, Use the Calculator.

After the judge knows all of the above information, and any other additional, relevant factors in the case, he or she turns to a child support calculator. This online tool is similar to the one that helps the judge determine exactly how much a person should pay each month for child support. 

The rough equation is:

Child support = Combined incomes of both parents to be allocated for child support  x [High earner’s net monthly disposable income – (% of time the high earner spends with the child x Combined total net monthly income of both parents)]

Suffice to say, this formula is pretty complex. It’s a good thing there’s an online tool and software available to figure this out.

Do You Need Your Child Support Amount Adjusted?

If you feel like you’re not receiving enough money from the other parent to meet the basic needs of your child or if you feel you are paying too much child support leaving you with little funds for yourself, you might need to have your child support amount adjusted. At KL Family Law, we are happy to meet with you and answer any questions you may have about the formula or the child support adjustment process. We can help you get the right amount for your situation. Give us a call today at 714-372-2217 or contact us online.

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KL Family Law

At KL Family Law, we understand that your primary concern is the well-being of your children. We strive to offer tailored solutions for your family law needs and help you move forward through this difficult transition.

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