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How California makes decisions on child support

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2024 | Child Support

California courts consult the state’s child support guideline to make decisions on child support. It’s possible for both parents to have to pay child support in California. This money is to cover the costs of childcare, including travel and visitation expenses, food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and extracurricular activities.

Factors that influence child support decisions

How much time each parent physically spends with their child affects child custody and child support decisions. Each parent’s income also makes a difference in what a court will rule. The court will have you fill out an Income and Expense Declaration form to calculate how much in child support you may have to pay.

California only looks at your net disposable income, which is your income after taxes, health premiums, children from a current relationship, mandatory retirement contributions and mandatory union dues. All income is subject to child support decisions, including unemployment benefits, disability benefits and interest earned on investments.

How long a child support order lasts

Although the amount of child support you need to pay may change if your income or health drastically changes, child support orders typically last until your child is 18 years old and a high school graduate. Child support remains in effect as long as your child attends high school even if they can only attend part-time because of a health condition. If your child marries someone before they are 18 and graduate high school, then your child support order ends.

Disabled children, however, may need continued child support after they are legally adults. The law holds both parents responsible for taking care of their child’s needs.

Two of the biggest factors influencing California’s child support decisions are parenting time and net disposable income. If one parent spends significantly less physical time with their child, then it’s more likely that the court will issue a child support order.