Child Support

Child support can appear deceptively simple with fillable-fields in a readily available software. However, the "devil is in the details", as counsel for each party can produce radically different calculations using different perspectives on the available data.

Child Support Basics

In California, child support usually can be payable by one parent to the other in any agreed amount, including zero dollars. Such an agreement, with required language included, can be filed as an order with the family court. Alternatively, if no agreement can be reached, then a parent can file a Request for Order seeking a hearing, at which time the family court judge can make an order for child support based upon the California guideline formula. (See below.) The court always retains jurisdiction over child support for minor children. Once an order is entered with the court, any agreed changes (modifications) need to be made formally too. Child support "add-ons" can be included for work-related child care and unreimbursed health care costs. Non-payment of child support produces "arrears" subject to 10% per year interest.

How Is Support Calculated?

Child support based upon the California guideline formula, using software like DissoMaster, SupportTax or XSpouse, takes into account a number of factors, including:

  • Income available to each parent from all sources
  • Number of minor children in this case
  • Timeshare percentage with the children
  • Children of another relationship supported by a parent
  • Cost of health insurance (pre-tax or post-tax) paid by each parent
  • Tax filing status, dependency exemptions and tax deductions of each parent
  • Retirement contributions (mandatory or voluntary)
  • Job related expenses
  • Other factors in rare circumstances

There are limited grounds for a judge to deviate from the guideline formula, absent agreement. However, the figures that are utilized for the above formula are frequently matters in dispute, particularly the incomes and timeshare that should be reflected for each party. For instance, forensic analysis of business income available to self-employed parents is common. Similarly, income imputation can be applied if a parent remains unemployed or underemployed for an extended period after an order to seek work.

Choosing a Lawyer for Child Support Issues

As a family law attorney for almost two decades, I have extensive knowledge regarding child support and am highly experienced representing clients in child support and other family law issues. I partner with my clients to obtain and present, clearly and persuasively, all the information necessary to obtain a favorable negotiated agreement or litigated decision on child support (and other issues). Given that child support can be significant for the payor and the recipient alike, it is important to have quality representation when addressing your child support needs.

Contact My Firm Today

The Law Office of Linda D. States is based in Sacramento, and serves clients in the greater regional counties with child support and other family law issues. To discuss your legal needs, call me at 916-426-9119, or fill out this online contact form.