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How is child support calculated in California?

When two parents in California decide to end their relationship with one another, one issue they will face is that of child support. While no parent wants to see his or her child suffer or live a lesser quality of life, they still will want to see that the amount of child support owed is fair to both parties.

The state of California uses statewide child support guidelines to determine how much child support to award in a given case. Because the formula itself is very complicated, usually child support will be calculated using a licensed computer program. In general, however, the number of children a couple has, each parent's income and how often each parent has custody of the child are a few factors that will go into determining how much child support to award.

In California, there is no cap to how much child support can be awarded. Whatever is calculated per the guidelines carries the presumption of being the legal calculation. Per law, a child is entitled to enjoy the same lifestyle that his or her parents have. That being said, there can be deviations from the state guidelines if appropriate.

Keep in mind, however, that child support in California is meant to cover everyday expenses. It does not necessarily include paying for expenses such as tuition at a private school or extracurricular activities.

In the end, calculating child support in California can be complex, necessitating the help of professionals, such as an attorney. Having an attorney's advice can come in handy not just in calculating child support, but also in explaining how that amount was determined and whether any deviations are needed or possible.

Source: The Huffington Post, "California Child Support: The 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions Answered," Fred Silberberg, Oct. 13, 2016

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