California’s Family law provides that both parents are mutually responsible
for the support of their children. Child Support is the amount of money
a court orders a parent or both parents to pay for the support of his
or her minor children’s living expenses. A Child Support order may
be part of a court order in a divorce, paternity action, child custody
action, or separate child support action.
Child support payments provide for any or all of the following: monetary support, health
insurance coverage, arrearages, and may include interest on delinquent
child support obligations. As child support matters can become very complex,
it is always prudent to seek the advice of an attorney for your particular
situation. Below is general information regarding child support.
How Child Support is Calculated
California adheres to a Statewide Uniform Child Support Guideline. What
this means is that in order to determine the appropriate amount of child
support, courts must apply a formula. The formula is calculated based
on various factors, including the monthly net income of both parents and
the approximate amount of time the child spends with each parent (known
as the time-share percentage).
Before the child support amount can be determined, each parent must complete
an Income and Expense Declaration and provide proof of their income. While
the court is to presume the formula support amount to be correct, special
circumstances can lead the amount to be unfair. When this occurs, the
court may deviate from the guideline formula support amount in consideration
of special circumstances.
Alternatively, subject to the court’s approval, parents may agree
to an amount of child support instead of the statutory formula support
amount. The court reviews child support agreements to make sure the agreement
is consistent with statutory guidelines and that the child support amount
Modification of Child Support
Even after a court issues a child support order, the court maintains jurisdiction
and child support orders may be modified (changed) as deemed necessary
by the court. Either parent may file a Request for Order to modify child
support with the court. Generally, there must be evidence of a material
or substantial change of circumstances before a court will modify a child
A court will consider a variety of factors in determining whether there
has been a substantial change of circumstances including a change in either
parent’s ability to pay, an increase in the noncustodial parent’s
income, earning capacity, and extreme financial hardships.
As mentioned above, Child Support matters can become very complex and may
require the need for an experienced attorney. If you are a parent seeking
child support, receiving child support, or paying child support contact
the attorneys at Chung & Ignacio, LLP. Our attorneys will provide
the expertise and experience necessary to ensure your and your child’s
best interests are protected.
- California Family Code sections 4050 and thereafter
- California Department of Child Support Services
- San Bernardino Child Support Services