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A brief overview of California Child Support Guidelines

Though parents who are ordered to pay child support sometimes disagree, there are accurate and fair guidelines put in place by the state of California to calculate those payment amounts. The same formula is applied to every child support matter, and works based on not only income, but also the amount of time a child is with each party.

The California Department of Child Support Services offers a child support calculator on it's website. There are multiple factors that are taken into consideration when calculating the payment amount. First, both parent's net disposable income is entered, along with the amount of time each parent cares for the child, per a custody order signed by the judge. These income amounts include all income, whether taxable or not. Some examples include commissions, Social Security, disability, interest, and lottery or prize winnings, among many others.

The Court will then allow certain deductions to be taken from the net income amount. Those deductions include taxes, union dues, retirement contributions, health insurance, and other child support. Further, depending on the disbursement of other expenses for the child in the final custody order, those amounts will be taken into consideration in calculating a child support amount as well. They are school expenses, visitation/travel expenses, uncovered medical expenses, and child care.

An experienced family law attorney can assist you in making sure that your child support is being calculated correctly based on the formula created by the state of California to determine such. He or she may also be able to assist you in obtaining a modification of child support when circumstances have changed after a final custody order has been issued, or if a large amount of arrearage is due.

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