Understanding What California Courts Consider When Calculating Child Support

In California, financial support for children is based on a mathematical formula that takes into account the income of the parents, how much time each parent spends with the child, and any tax exemptions available to either parent. This formula is used when determining the support of a minor child, including in cases of divorce, paternity, and domestic partnership. Like most states, California has an online child support calculator that you can use to compute the appropriate child support amount. In order to determine child support, you need:

  • Each parent’s gross income
  • How much time (in percentage) each parent spends with each child
  • Income tax deductions that parents may claim (e.g. mortgage interest)
  • Compulsory deductions in payroll (e.g. pensions, union fees, health insurance)
  • The costs of childcare costs sustained by either parent.

The Formula

To be more specific, here is the actual formula that the California courts use to determine child support amount:

CS = K (HN – (H%) (TN))

What the letters mean:

  • CS stands for the “Child Support” amount. This is what the formula calculates once all your information has been plugged in. The amount is going to be for one child. If a couple has more children, the CS amount must be multiplied by a figure determined by state law.
  • K stands for the combined income of parents’ income that is alloted for child support. The amount of the combined income of the parents, which must be spent on child support, depends on how much the parents earn and how long the higher earning parent spends on the child.
  • HN means”High Net.” This is the higher earning parent’s net available monthly income.
  • H% represents the approximate percentage of time the high earner has or will have primary physical responsibility for the children in comparison with the other parent. (For instance, that parent may have kids 25% of the time, while the other parent has them 75% of the time.) In cases where parents have different time-sharing agreements for different children, H% is equal to the average of the approximate percentage of time spent with each child by the high earning parent.
  • TN represents both parents’ total net monthly disposable income.

As you can see, calculating just how much financial support a child may receive can get complicated. The experienced legal professionals at the Law Offices of Kayleene H. Writer are dedicated exclusively to California family and divorce law and are here to work for you. Give us a call today at (949) 823-1027 to discuss your case.

Written by Law Offices of Kayleene H. Writer

Law Offices of Kayleene H. Writer

Recognized for her candor, compassion, and experience in family law, Ms. Writer has developed a successful family law practice built on her impeccable reputation and personal dedication to each client’s needs.