Most of the time, a noncustodial parent is responsible for child support because daily child care and expenses are vested in the custodial parent. This, however, is not a hard-and-fast rule.
The determination of child support in California is based on a complex calculation that takes into account the parents’ incomes, the time spent by each parent with the child, the standard of living for the child, the custodial arrangements, and each parents’ tax deductions.
The state-wide formula is applied for determining child support in California. Courts and family law attorneys customarily use this method to arrive at an appropriate number to be paid as child support. However, sometimes additional benefits over and above the “base rule” are made. This is done by providing for what are known as mandatory and discretionary “add-ons.”
The additional mandatory add-ons under California Family Law Code § 4062 typically include child care costs related to training for employment skills or requiring education to secure employment, as well as all reasonable healthcare costs for the child that are not covered by insurance, such as co-pays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care, and orthodontic care.
Under the very same legislation, discretionary child support may also be granted, keeping in mind specific educational costs (such as those required to facilitate extra-curricular and recreational activities) and other special needs of the child, as well as travel expenses incurred during visitations.
Usually, both parents are responsible for sharing the mandatory and discretionary add-ons equally; however, in cases of a stark income gap between the two parents, the higher earning parent may be held responsible for greater obligations. This is calculated separately in accordance with Family Code § 4061(b).
There are rarely any changes made to the child support amount—not even when one of the parents re-marries.
Child support cases are not easy to understand and analyze. A trusted, experienced family law attorney can make a significant difference in how you deal with this intimately personal crisis.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced in child support matters. Call today to see how we can help you: (415) 293-8314.