An Overview of California Child Support Guidelines
In the state of California, child support matters follow a specific guideline that is based on the amount of time each parent has physical custody of the child and their individual incomes. While the amount of child support is based on current income, the amount can also be based on earning capacity if the court discovers that a parent has taken a voluntary wage reduction.
Child Support Calculation Variables
There are numerous variables that are considered in the calculation of child support which in itself is a complicated process. While it is possible for both parents to agree on an amount that that is not calculated by the courts, a judge will determine the amount to be paid by using the statewide guidelines when they cannot agree. The calculation of child support depends on the following variables:
- amount of time the child/children spend with each parent
- childcare costs
- costs of uninsured healthcare
- healthcare expenses
- mandatory union dues
- monthly earnings or earning capacity of each parent
- monthly support payments from other marriages or relationships
- number of children born to the parents during the marriage
- other income amount
- tax filing status of each parent
Other factors or variables that may be involved in the calculation of child support include educational expenses, travel expenses attributed to visitation, and other special needs. That is why it is important to hire the services of a family lawyer as they can work more efficiently and have years of experience working with similar cases.
Duration of Child Support Payments
Parents are normally obligated to paying child support until the age of 18. However, there are some exceptions. For example, a parent may have to continue making their monthly support payments until the child reaches the age of 19 if they are still in high school and living with the other parent. On the other hand, if the child becomes self-supportive by entering into a domestic partnership, getting married, or joins the military, the support period will be shortened.
There are other circumstances that would involve ongoing payments such as when the parents agree to continue supporting the child over a longer time period, or if the child is disabled and cannot support themselves. Under these circumstances, the court may order the support payments to continue. Although the non-custodial parent is usually the one making the support payments, the courts could order both of the child’s parents to make monthly support payments.
Can the Amount of Child Support change?
Once the court has ordered the payment of child support, it doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone. If the amount of support falls below what is prescribed in the guideline, a parent can ask for a modification or change at any point in time. Furthermore, you can still request a modification if the court ordered amount of support is above or equal to the guideline amount. However, a significant change in the parent’s finances or the amount of time shared with the child must be proven.
Do you need assistance with your child support case? Call us today for a FREE Consultation at 510-500-3935.