Beware of listening to rumors and anecdotal “advice” when it comes to child support payments. Rather let experienced family law attorneys explain the child support formula in California to you.

What Is the Average Child Support Amount in California?

If you are looking for a one-word answer, we are sorry to disappoint you. There is no cap on child support payments in California. Rather, a child support formula based on income, custody time, and other factors is used.

How Is Child Support Determined?

You already know that kids are expensive! Married or divorced, one of the largest continuous expenses you face as a parent is covering their ongoing care and maintenance. Unsurprisingly, then, a common sticking point following a divorce where children are a factor is the amount of child support to be paid by each spouse. The same can be said for paternity and separations where the parents were never married, and domestic partnership partings.

In California, these child support orders are determined using a rigid child support calculator derived from a nuanced algebraic formula. To deliver a minimum level of support for a child, and for uniformity in the child support obligations, the child support formula in California considers a range of financial factors.

Factors of the Child Support Formula in California

In a nutshell, California Department of Child Support Services support calculations are generated from the net disposable income of the parents and the percentage of time each parent acts as a custodial parent along with other key factors.

More specifically, this is the guideline formula:

CS = K (HN – (H%) (TN))

CS stands for the child support amount per child and is generated according to:

  • K – the joint total of both parents’ income allocated to child support. Each parent’s gross income (from all sources of income) less fixed payroll deductions, such as health insurance premiums, mandatory union dues, and pensions
  • HN (high net) refers to the total net disposable income of the parent who has the higher income.
  • H% is the estimated average amount of time the high earner has primary physical custody of the children.
  • TN is the total net monthly spendable income of each parent.

The support order is in place until your child turns 18 unless he or she is still in high school. Then your financial obligations continue through age 19 or graduation.

Serving throughout Riverside, San Diego, and San Bernardino counties, Westover Law Group has extensive experience in child support matters. For more information on the child support formula in California as well as all of your divorce, custody, and appeals needs, contact our expert family law attorneys.