How Much Will I Pay in Child Support in California?

How Much Will I Pay in Child Support in California?

How Much Will I Pay in Child Support in California?One of the biggest questions asked when filing for divorce is how much you will pay for child support in California. In some cases, the court orders that child support payments be made by the higher earner to the lower earner. This is meant to lower the difference in quality of life between the two parties so that the child’s interests are represented. For more details on your child support payments, contact a San Diego child support attorney.

How Much Will I Pay for Child Support Each Month?

On average, Americans who make child support payments pay around $430 per month. This figure can be helpful, but it does not take into account how many children an individual is paying for, the individual incomes of both parents, and how much time each parent is spending with their children. For a number that is relevant to an individual person or family, calculations must be made that take all of these details into account.

To determine how much you might pay in child support, the state of California uses the following information:

  • Variable K: How much money must go to child support (the total from both parents). This number has to be calculated separately and is not the same as both parents’ net pay combined.
  • Variable HN: The total net disposable income of the highest earning spouse (this number must represent monthly income)
  • Variable TN: The total net disposable income of both spouses (this number must represent monthly income)
  • Variable H%: How much time the highest earning parent spends with the child annually in a percentage

This information is all added into the following formula:

Child Support Payment Amount = K(HN – (H%)(TN))

This formula varies from person to person and can be complicated to determine for yourself. In general, the formula outputs higher amounts of child support for larger differences in income between both parents.

The number also increases if the higher-earning spouse spends less time with the children. If you choose to work with a child support attorney, they can give you a general estimate of how much you might expect to receive or pay in child support.

Changes to Child Support

Parental income can change due to differing circumstances, especially if one or both parents get remarried. In certain situations, it can be helpful to modify existing child support orders to better reflect the living situations of both parents. Common reasons for modifying an existing order include:

  • Employment Changes: This can include both positive and negative changes since both impact employment. Things like being fired or laid off, getting a pay cut or raise, or finding a new job can all significantly change a parent’s disposable monthly income.
  • Income Changes: Certain changes to income are not based on changes to employment. For example, if a parent remarries to someone who is employed, their total amount of disposable income will change.
  • Changes to Parenting Agreement: There are also instances where one parent spends more or less time with their children than in years past, which can change how much they are owed or owe in child support.
  • Lifestyle Changes: If a parent’s family increases or decreases in size, this might result in more or less disposable income to use for child support. Other events like incarceration, disability, or deployment might also change child support payments.

Either parent can request an arrangement to be modified by reopening their case with their child support agency or with the help of an attorney. If the agency denies this request, you might have to go to court and have a judge make a decision based on your case.

When Can an Ex-Spouse Pay More in Child Support in California?


Q: How Much Is Child Support in California 50–50 Custody?

A: The amount of child support in California 50-50 custody is highly variable. In situations where parents share custody 50-50, child support can still be granted, but it may not be. One of the most important factors in determining how much you pay in child support depends on the difference between your income and the other parent’s income. Most parents who evenly split custody receive less in child support than parents who receive full or larger shares of custody, but the exact number depends on the disparity in incomes.

Q: Is Child Support Based on Gross or Net Income in California?

A: In California, child support is calculated using both parents’ net income. Gross income is the total amount a person makes before deductions. Net income, sometimes referred to as “take-home pay,” is the amount an individual actually receives after their gross income is reduced for taxes, Social Security, health insurance, and other expenses. These things should not be included when calculating the amount of child support a parent might owe or receive.

Q: What Is the Most Money Child Support Can Take?

A: The most money child support can take in California is up to 60% of a person’s wages if they are only responsible for one child. If they are responsible for two or more children, then up to 50% of their wages can be garnished. Wage garnishment can sometimes be mandated by a court order. If this occurs, an employer must deduct a certain percentage of your wages to pay for things like child support or spousal support. Modifications to garnishment must be addressed by filing a court petition.

Q: Does Child Support Go Down if the Father Has Another Baby in California?

A: In certain situations, in California, the amount a father might owe for child support could go down if they have another child. If they request a child support agreement to be modified, the court might take the additional child into account when recalculating child support, but only if it is their direct child (not a stepchild or grandchild). While the amount a father pays in child support might be reduced, every situation is different and results in different payment amounts.

Experienced in Both Finance and Law

Determining the exact value of child support payments can be tricky, especially without legal or accounting experience. Bickford Blado & Botros has staff that are licensed CPAs as well as attorneys who can give you estimates based on your specific financial situation. Schedule a consultation with Bickford Blado & Botros for a clearer picture of what your divorce might look like and assistance with child support.



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