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San Jose Divorce Attorney > Blog > Child Support > What You Should Know About Calculating Child Support In California

What You Should Know About Calculating Child Support In California


Whether you are getting divorced and have minor children with your spouse or you are ending a relationship with your child’s other parent, it will be important to understand how the court will determine child support and what your child support obligation is likely to be. Each state has its own laws pertaining to child support, so you will need to work with a San Jose child support attorney to understand how California law pertaining to child support will govern your case. The following are some of the top things you should know about calculating child support in California.

California Uses an “Income Shares” Model 

The California model for child support is an “income shares” model, which means that the court will recognize that both parents will contribute to the child support obligation, and that the overall obligation will be based on both of their combined incomes. With the California income shares model, each parent will fill out an Income and Expense Declaration in addition to providing income documentation. The court will combine the parents’ incomes to determine the total support obligation, and it will determine each parent’s percentage of the obligation based on income and the amount of time spent with the child.

To determine the total income and child support obligation, California courts use a formula. The formula requires you to know each of the parent’s gross incomes, the amount of time the child spends with each parent (in a percentage out of 100), and deductions to determine each parent’s net monthly disposable income (including payroll deductions, tax deductions, and childcare expenses). You will also need to know the number of children in need of support.

How the Child Support Calculation Works 

California Child Support Services has a child support guideline calculator through which you can enter the requisite information and obtain information about each parent’s support obligation. If you want to calculate the amount yourself, you will need to know the following formula:

K(HN-(H%)(TN)) = CS

Under California law, the “K” is the combined total of the parents’ incomes that can be used to determine the child support amount. The “HN” is the net monthly disposable income for the parent who is the higher earner. The “H%” is the percentage of time that the parent who is the higher earner spends with the child. The “TN” is the total net monthly disposable income for both parents. Finally, the “CS” is used to mean the child support amount. When there is more than one child, the formula will require an additional calculation.

California law also allows the court to deviate from the guidelines in some circumstances, but the circumstances must necessitate a deviation.

Contact a San Jose Child Support Attorney Today 

If you have questions about calculating your child support obligation, or if you need more information about deviations from the child support guidelines, one of our experienced San Jose child support attorneys can assist you. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us to learn more. Contact Foster Hsu, LLP for more information.



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