California, as well as all other states, has adopted guidelines that must be applied in the calculations of the amount of child support. States have, for the most part, made a determination that every child has the right to the financial support of both parents consistent with the parents’ station in life. Based on these principles, states have adopted formulas for determining what the level of child support should be.
To calculate the minimum amount of child support to be paid by a parent, a judge makes a number of determinations, such as the following:
● How much money the parents earn or can earn;
● How much other income each parent receives;
● How many children these parents have together;
● How much time each parent spends with their children;
● The actual tax filing status of each parent;
● Child support paid to children from other relationships;
● Health insurance expenses;
● Mandatory union dues;
● Mandatory retirement contributions;
● The cost of sharing daycare and uninsured health-care costs; and
● Traveling cost for visitation from one parent to another, educational expenses, and other special needs.
The result of this calculation sets forth the minimum amount of child support. However, in the vast majority of cases, the court orders child support above the minimum level, as determined by local support guidelines.
If parents cannot agree on the amount of child support, the judge will decide the child support amount based on these guideline calculations. The guideline is based on a complicated mathematical formula. In fact, computer programs must be used to calculate child support under the guidelines.
Generally speaking, child support is paid until the child turns 18 or graduates high school, but not to exceed 19. There is also an exception to this rule if the child has special needs, such as physical or mental disabilities, but those are rare. In those cases, support can continue into adulthood.
Once set, child support can be modified or adjusted based on changed circumstances, such as an increase or decrease in a parent’s income, change in custody, or similar factors.
If you are a parent affected by a child support order or proceeding, it is important that you contact an attorney with the knowledge and experience capable of determining the appropriate amount of child support. Daniel Geraldi is that attorney. He has handled many such cases and he is very familiar with both the law and computer software programs relating to the calculations of child support. If you have further questions about child support, contact Daniel Geraldi at (925) 236-0045.