A primary concern of divorcing parents is how it will impact their children’s standard of living. In the state of California, both parents are legally responsible for the financial well-being of their children.
But how does the court determine the amount each parent should provide?
There are many considerations that go into determining child support, and it starts with a formula from California Family Code § 4055 that takes into account the parents’ combined total income and the amount of that which must go towards financial support:
CS = K[HN – (H%)(TN)]
CS = child support amount
K = the combined amount of both parents’ income that is to be allocated towards financial support
HN = the net monthly disposable income of the parent who earns more
H% = the approximate percentage of time the higher earning parent has physical custody of the child compared to the other parent
TN = total net monthly disposable income of both parties
Each parent’s net disposable income includes the following:
- self-employment earnings
- Rental income
- Disability income
Another key factor in determining child support is custody and time-sharing. The custodial parent, who has the child for the majority of the time, typically receives child support from the non-custodial parent.
In a 50/50 custody situation, child support may still be required from the higher earner.
The purpose of child support is to ensure the availability of financial resources necessary for their well-being, including:
- Covering their basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing
- Healthcare expenses, including medical, dental, and vision care
- Educational costs like fees, uniforms, books, and other related expenses.
- Childcare if both parents work
- Extracurricular activities such as sports, band, or dance lessons.
Child support orders are not set in stone. They can be modified if there are changes in circumstances, such as a significant change in income or alterations in custody arrangements. Only a court order can change the amount of financial support.
Even if both parents agree on the new amount, it still must be approved by the court.
Additionally, non-payment of late payment of child support can lead to legal consequences, including wage garnishment, property liens, or applying any tax refund toward the delinquent amount.
Understanding how child support is determined in California can be complex. Still, it’s crucial to ensure a fair outcome for all parties involved and protect the best interests of the child. If you’re navigating child support issues, consider seeking advice from a legal professional who specializes in family law. Our attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri work with families throughout San Jose, Silicon Valley, and the Greater Bay Area. We can assist you in navigating the legal process and answer any questions you may have.
Contact us for a free consultation by calling (408) 553-0801.
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.