When parents of minor children decide to end their marriage, it is sometimes the case that the non-custodial parent will be ordered to pay a certain amount of child support. In California, the amount that the parent may be ordered to pay is determined by calculations that take into account a wide range of factors.

The court’s main goal is to have the non-custodial parent pay enough support so that the child’s standard of living is maintained. Because one child’s standard of living may be different from another child’s standard of living, other factors go into the determination of how much the payments should be. Some of these factors depend upon the child. For example, if the child has increased medical or developmental needs, the non-custodial parent’s payments may be higher than if the child did not have these needs.

Other considerations in the calculation of child support payments include the amount the paying parent earns and how much the custodial parent earns. Additionally, if the child is receiving support from a third party, such as a step-parent, the non-custodial parent’s payments may be lower. The court also takes health insurance expenses and other costs into considerations, such as mandatory union dues or retirement contributions. Finally, the number of children that the two adults have together may also affect the amount the non-custodial parent may be ordered to pay.

When the court is calculating child support, both parties may be interested in seeking legal advice from a family law attorney. The attorney may be able to help their client by potentially making sure that all documents that could affect the amount of child support that is ordered is available for the judge. Additionally, the attorney may also be able to help ensure that the other party is not hiding assets or financial information.

Source: Findlaw, “California Child Support Calculations“, September 08, 2014