How child support is calculated in California

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2020 | Firm News

Sometimes the love runs out in a marriage, and there’s nothing that will rekindle it. If this is the case, divorce may be your next best option. It can be a daunting and stressful experience but also offers a light at the end of the tunnel. Separation provides hope for individuals lost in unfulfilling relationships, and in many ways, a new beginning. 

If you have underage children, you and your future ex will also have to contend with and follow the set child custody and child support guidelines. There are three popular formulas: the income shares model, the percentage of income model and the Melson Formula.

California, and 39 other states, follow the income shares model to determine the amount fo child support each parent is mandated to provide each month. This formula, designed under the idea that children should expect the same amount of income stability that they grew accustomed to before their parents’ divorce, considers both parents’ incomes.

The calculations

When calculating child support using the income shares model, you must first identify the cost of raising a child in your jurisdiction. The average is around $1,000 per month. Next, the court would divide 1000 by the parent’s combined annual incomes. If the father earned 60% of the family’s income, he would be required to pay $600 per month, and the mother would provide a $400 payment (the remaining 40%).

The percentages and dollar amounts are adaptable, depending on the financial situation of each couple. 

That said, there is an assumption when determining child support payments that the parent who secures primary custody pays their monthly share by buying necessities and paying bills, mortgage, or rent. The non-primary parent would be required to send their monthly child support payment to the parent who receives primary custody.