The first question clients ask is: “How much child support I have to pay?” The answer to that question depends on two critical factors: (1) how much time does each parent spend with the child or children and (2) what is each parent’s income? Each of these factors is discussed below.
How is Child Support Calculated?
The calculation of child support is based on a computer program. In most counties in California, the computer programs most often used are Dissomaster or X-Spouse. Various factors are inputted into the program to determine what “guideline” child support should be.
These factors include the number of children, the timeshare percentage each parent spends with the children, the number of exemptions each parent claims, the income of each parent, health insurance deductions for each parent, mandatory retirement deductions, itemized deductions including mortgage interest and property tax, work related child care costs, certain specific hardship deductions as well as others. Once all of the factors are inputted, the computer program then provides a proposed child support order that the judge will generally adopt and order.
How Does Custody Play a Role When Calculating Child Support?
The timeshare with the child or children is the most important factor when determining child support. In fact, if the time share of one parent is minimal (less than 10%), the income of the custodial parent (the one with the greater time with the children) becomes almost insignificant to the child support calculations.
Can California Child Support Orders be Modified?
Child support orders are modifiable at any time. However, orders that are guideline or above guideline can only be modified upon a showing of a significant change of circumstances. The two most common types of change occur when the timeshare with the children has changed (one parent has more or less time with the children as initially ordered) or one parent’s income and significantly changed, up or down.
Absent very limited exceptions, a child support order can only be modified by a subsequent order. Parents should not rely on verbal or non-court ordered modifications to child support. Such reliance often causes unpleasant surprises later on when the other parent denies there was ever such an agreement or claims the agreement was not enforceable.
Contact the Saghera Law Group for an Experienced Child Support Attorney
One of the most common mistakes made is to hire an attorney who dabbles in child support cases. Lawyers who handle support matters only “once in a while” often lack the knowledge and experience needed to handle these delicate cases. At the Saghera Law Group, we pride ourselves in providing complete and detailed information on topics that matter to you. If you need further assistance, please call us or schedule a no-charge consultation today.