California child support can be a complicated topic. The amount paid is often calculated by using legal research software because the amount owed is governed by a complex set of guidelines. Factors such as the income of each parent, the number of children and how much time each parent spends with the children influence the amount owed.

In California, there is no legal limit to the amount a parent may be required to pay. Recipients are allowed to improve their life situations with the benefit of child support. Child support is intended to be based on what the supporting parent can afford to pay, not necessarily what the children require. In some instances, the amount of child support paid may be enough to support both the parent and the child.

If the parent receiving support does not spend the money on the child, unfortunately, there is not much that the parent who is paying support can do about it. Child support recipients are not required to account for how they spend the money. The law presumes that basic living expenses such as rent and food are incurred for the benefit of the child.

Parents who have been ordered to pay child support may wish to consult an attorney if their financial circumstances adversely change. The child support amount can only be modified with a court order. The failure to pay the ordered amount can result in significant penalties, and thus having legal assistance can be advisable. It is important to note that even if a modification is obtained, it will apply only prospectively and will have no effect on any past due amounts.