Child support calculations in California

Child support calculations in California

To the surprise of many observers, the recent divorce of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise appeared to be handled with relative ease, including child custody and support arrangements for their daughter, Suri.

But for most people, rich and famous or not, divorce is almost universally stressful. From the division of assets and property to the determination on spousal support and more, divorcing couples must work through many potentially contentious issues. When there are children involved, the stress is automatically ratcheted up several notches, with the ex-spouses’ chief concern being the ability to provide for their children’s well-being including their education, health and happiness.

The best interests of the child

Children need nurturing and support from their parents. Divorce doesn’t change that. The California court system recognizes this need and does its best to protect the best interests of children as their parents work through the details of their divorce. In all matters relating to the child, including the best custody arrangement and the monetary support necessary for the child to grow up in a safe and secure environment.

Child support orders

When a judge gives custody to one of the divorcing parents, the non-custodial parent still has financial duties to his or her child. The court requires non-custodial parents to paying child support to the custodial parent.

Although a judge in the state of California ultimately decides on the child support payments the non-custodial parents will be required to pay, certain factors are always taken into consideration. These factors include the number of children; both parents’ wages and other income; the income of another spouse should one of the exes remarry; and public assistance, if any, received. Although these are of the most common factors that affect a family’s financial stability, others such as tax obligations, additional child support payments, health insurance, home mortgage payments and hardships like the loss of a job or the short- or long-term disability of either parent, are taken into consideration on a case-by-case basis.

Gaining child support

Child support orders are not always perfect, nor are they written in stone. As life goes on, changes in each ex-spouses’ circumstances may require a recalculation of the original child support order. Income changes, job losses, significant changes in the child’s needs or a change to which parent is caring for the child can all affect a child support order.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need an increase to your child support payments, or your current child support agreement is no longer viable for some other reason, discussing the matter with an attorney experienced in California family law is your best course of action. These attorneys understand your state’s legal system and know how to advocate for the best interest of your children.


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