In California, child support is determined partially by the incomes of both parents. How much time each parent occupies with the child will also be factored into the total amount. Parents are required to fill out an Income and Expense Declaration form, and there may be legal consequences for failing to tell the truth on that form. A judge will first look at a parent’s net income after allowable deductions.

Net disposable income is usually what is left over after accounting for union dues, taxes and health care premiums. If a parent is paying child support or has expenses related to raising other children, those costs will also be deducted. When determining child support, the law says that rental income, gambling winnings and dividends from stocks may be counted as income. Disability or unemployment benefits may also count as income.

Child support can be used to pay for expenses such as health care costs in addition to basic needs like food, clothing or shelter. If necessary, a judge may also order a parent to help pay for the cost of a school trip or to play on a sports team. In many cases, the amount of support paid is inverse to the amount of time spent with the child. Support is generally owed until a child turns 19 or is freed for some other reason.

In most cases, child support agreements must meet minimum state guidelines. This is generally true whether an agreement is reached between the parents on their own or via a court order. If a parent seeks a child support order, he or she may want to talk with an attorney. The same may be true for parents who are owed support or wish to modify an order.