Child support is paid after a divorce or legal separation to cover the child’s basic needs (e.g., food, clothing, housing, and school expenses). The primary parent of the child usually receives this monthly payment.

How does child support work in California?

Declaratory Income and Expenses

California law requires parents to fill out a declaration of income and expenses and show proof of their gross earnings.

How child support is calculated

The court will then calculate each parent’s child support amount.

The judge will take into account each parent’s disposable income. The judge will consider each parent’s net disposable income.

The court will also examine other sources of income, such as:

  • Commissions
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  • Bonuses
  • Wages, including overtime pay
  • Self-employment income
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Disability benefits and workers’ compensation benefits
  • Pensions and Social Security
  • Dividends on stocks
  • Interest on Investments
  • Rent from Property
  • Lotteries and their prize winnings

The court will also consider how much time the noncustodial parents spend with their child calculating support orders. California courts calculate timeshare based on how many physical hours each parent spends with their child. A parent who spends less time with their child will be ordered to pay more child support if they do.

How are child support expenses calculated?

When calculating child support, you must consider the following expenses:

  • Food, clothing, and shelter (monetary assistance)
  • Health Insurance
  • Child Support Payments
  • Interest in child support unpaid

Child support covers food, clothing, housing, primary education, and other necessities. Parents can also agree to additional expenses, or judges can order them.

  • Preschool or Daycare
  • Unpaid medical bills
  • Visitation travel costs
  • Extracurricular activities include sports, field trips, and lessons.

What if the other parent has no income and doesn’t work?

Parents can deliberately stop working (quit their job) or reduce their hours to avoid paying child maintenance. The courts do not accept these behaviors. If a court finds this the case, it can “impute an income” to that parent. The court will not use the parent’s income to calculate child support. Instead, it will consider the earning capacity of the other parent.

The court must determine whether the parent can and is willing to work before it can attribute income they do not earn. Before a court can assign payment, it must show that the parent can work for jobs they qualify for.

What is the method of determining timeshare?

For a specified period, each parent is responsible for the minor child. Regarding child custody, the court will decide which parent is responsible by considering factors like who will pick the children up if they are sick, who provides transportation to and from the school, and who attends school events.

The court can determine the percentage of timesharing based on the involvement each parent has.

How does a court calculate child support based on income and timeshare?

The formula used by the court to calculate child support is quite complex. To calculate child support, courts will use the software.

Does the court have to order the amount calculated under the guideline?

Not necessarily. In some cases, courts have the discretion to set child support levels that are different from those calculated by a guideline.

If the net monthly income of a parent is below a certain amount, the court may lower the child support amount if the court deems it appropriate or fair.

In addition, if the amount is below or above the guidelines, it can be ordered by the court if that is in the best interests of the child. In the following circumstances, courts may order a different amount than the guideline.

  • The income of a parent is extremely high, but based on the guidelines, it exceeds the needs of the children.
  • A parent who spends a lot of time with their children is not providing for the needs of the child at a level that is appropriate.
  • Both parents spend nearly equal time with their kids, but one parent spends more or less of their income on housing.
  • Special medical needs or other special needs children require more support.

When a court orders anything above or below a guideline, they must explain their reasoning.

What about Additional Support for my Children’s Expenses that are not covered by the Guidelines?

Certain child-related costs can be considered when calculating child maintenance. In addition to the costs of uninsured medical care and child care, the court must also include training and employment expenses for parents.

You can add costs for special education, travel, and other visitation-related expenses.

The court will divide these expenses equally between parents. If there is a large difference in income, the court can order that each parent pay a specific amount.

Do you have to agree on a child support amount?

Parents can propose child support agreements to the court. The court will review them and approve or reject them. These agreements must include:

Parents are aware of their rights.

The agreement was not signed by either party.

The agreement is in the best interest of children.

The agreement will address the needs of children.

Parents have not applied for public assistance, nor do they receive it.

If the court finds that the agreement is in a child’s best interests, it will issue and approve a child-support order.

How to Terminate California Child Support: Does Child Support Have to Stop When the Child is Old Enough to Receive Payments?

The support usually ends once a child reaches the age of 18. Support may continue beyond this age for children in college or those with special needs.

Child support can end before the child turns 18. If your child gets married or becomes financially independent, you may be able to ask for the child support to be stopped. Modifying child support payments may be possible at any time if there are changes in income or circumstances that justify changing the order.

Special-needs kids who are unable to become financially or physically independent as adults may be eligible for child support. After the child turns 18, both parents must agree in writing to take on financial responsibility for their child. California’s child support age limit is not always 18.

Custodial Parents may request extra support for their children with special needs whose medical expenses will be predictable and recurring along with their education costs.

If the parent and child have agreed on a date, and the court is notified, the child’s support can continue beyond his or her 18th year. Parents may, for instance, agree to provide financial support until their child graduates from college or turns 21.

When does child support end?

California family law states that child support stops when a child turns 18, also known as the “age of majority.” After that date, child custody laws are no longer applicable.

Children who are 18 years old and still enrolled in high school full-time do not fall under the law. The child must stop receiving support when they reach the age of 19 or graduate from high school, whichever comes first. The child support amount is not affected by either parent having a new relationship.

Child support ceases when the child reaches 18 years of age or in one of the following situations:

A child marries an adult.

The child joins the military.

The child is emancipated before they reach the age of 18.

The court terminates child support or custody.

The child is dead before the age of 18.

Can a child support order be modified?

If there is a change in circumstances, such as an increased income or a shift of timesharing, either parent can request a modification to a child support order.

If parents agree to pay less than a guideline, a court can modify the agreement. If circumstances change, parents’ agreements which exceed the guideline amount may need to be modified.

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