Child support is determined by a Guideline formula set forth in the California Family Code and is most often calculated by a computer program. The formula takes into account several factors, including the gross income of each party (which might be complicated to determine, especially for those parents who are self-employed or receive significant employment benefits), time spent with the children, the cost of health insurance, tax filing status and certain tax deductions. Deviations from guideline child support maybe appropriate in certain circumstances. Since the time that a child spends in a given parent’s home is part of the calculation, child support can be a major issue in divorces, parentage actions and even post judgment, since, when financial or custodial circumstances change, child support can change, and this can occur multiple times until a child is no longer eligible to receive that support.
Child support can be calculated in court or it can be determined outside of court. In court, with a few exceptions, a judge must order Guideline support. Through Mediation, Collaborative or Negotiation, parents can decide how to best meet the needs of the children and their family. An attorney can provide legal guidance and advice through this process, either by representing you or by consulting with you. Our office is familiar with the various child support factors. We can identify those relevant to your case, provide advice on those factors (provided we are not serving as a neutral mediator) and also run various scenarios using the same computer program as the court.