What Factors Do California Courts Consider in Setting Child Support?

What Factors Do California Courts Consider in Setting Child Support?

Parents have a mutual duty to support their minor children. Ideally, parents come to an acceptable agreement about financial support, an agreement that the court will approve. However, if they cannot or will not do so, a court must decide whether child support will be paid from one parent to another.  

The California State Legislature has found that the “state’s top priority” in setting child support is the best interests of children”. For this reason, California law sets forth guiding principles that courts must use when determining child support. These principles allow for both parents’ standards of living to be considered. They also allow for child support to be used to reduce significant disparities in the parents’ living standards.  

The factors considered in determining child support are set by law in California. A formula is used that takes several factors into account:
  • Both parents’ actual income;
  • The higher-earning parent’s net monthly disposable income;
  • The percentage of time that each parent will have “primary physical responsibility” for the children; and
  • The combined net monthly disposable income of each parent.
In addition, California courts must take into account the parties’ respective health insurance coverage. There is a proportional increase in the amount of support for each additional child.  

Once the amount of child support is established using the formula, it may be affected by other issues, including but not limited to the following:  

  • Extraordinarily high income of one parent;
  • Different time-sharing arrangements;
  • The amounts spent by each parent on housing; and
  • Special medical needs of the children.
In most cases, the income of the paying parent’s new spouse or partner is not taken into account as actual income. However, it may be considered if a parent quits his or her job to reduce income or if a parent attempts to hide income. 

The health and well-being of your children are important not only to you, but to the State of California. In hotly contested child support matters, you need an attorney to fight for you and your child. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger have extensive experience in divorce, child custody, and child support matters. Make the call today to learn how our attorneys can protect you and your children: (415) 293-8314.  
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