Kevin Qualls Family Law
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How is child support calculated in California?

Child support payments are given to custodial parents in California to help provide financial support to children involved when parents separate or divorce. The payments help cover not only food and shelter, but also the other needs of the child including education and medical expenses. The child support payment calculations do vary by state, so if you're in the process of a divorce, it is important for both the custodial and the non-custodial parent to understand how these costs are calculated. Let's take a look at California's determining factors.

California has guidelines in place that the court will take into account when making a child support ruling. Factors in making this ruling include the earnings or potential earnings of each parent, the current income of each parent, the number of children involved, the amount of time each parent spends with the child, the tax filing status of the parents, child support from previous or current relationships, expenses including health insurance and union dues, retirement contributions and the costs associated with day care and health care.

By law, equal duty to support the child is shared by either parent of a child until the child either turns 18 and is a high school student, completes the twelfth grade or turns 19 years of age, whichever occurs first.

As always, the child's health, well-being, standard of living and education are the primary concerns for the courts when they make their child support calculations. If you've had recent changes in your financial situation, you may go to the court to see if a modification of the child support order can be done. Seeking a modification can help parents paying child support meet their obligations, while still ensuring the child's financial needs are met.

Source: FindLaw, "California Child Support Calculations," Accessed Nov. 24, 2015

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