Calculating Child Support in California
Every parent has an obligation to care for their child, even if their marriage falls apart. California law imposes guidelines on the local courts that help judges determine the appropriate amount of child support to award a family. Calculating child support in California is based on a calculation that takes both the parties income and how much time they spend with the child into consideration.
It’s important to note, California law requires all sources of income to be included with calculating child support. This is outlined in Family Code Section 4058, it includes but is not limited to the following: commissions, salaries, royalties, wages, bonuses, rents, dividends, pensions, interest, and trust income.
The process of gathering and assessing all of the information that is needed in order to provide an accurate decision is time consuming and frustrating. However, it is important to ensure the continued stability of the child following a separation. Each parent should feel confident about the amount that has been ordered by the court to benefit their child.
1. Make sure you are well organized!
One of the first steps in dealing with child support effectively and efficiently is to ensure that you are well organized. In the state of California, child support amounts will be calculated using a number of factors that are entered into a child support calculator.
Like any other form of data, the calculator will only be able to provide your judge with an accurate number if you provide accurate information. This means that you will need to ensure you have access to all necessary documents that contain information on your taxes, deductions and monthly income, including:
- Wage stubs
- Tax returns
- Childcare expenses
- Unemployment or disability benefits
- Premiums for health insurance
- Spousal support that is being paid into other relationships
- Necessary expenses related to your job that are not reimbursed by an employer
- Retirement contributions that are mandatory
- Uninsured losses
- Health care expenses
- Child support paid for children within other relationships
You have to be able to prove, with documentation, the expenses and income that you list on your income and expense declaration. Gathering up your information ahead of time will save time and money. The court requires your last two month of paystubs if you are a W2 employee and you should be able to produce your last years taxes if asked. If you are self employed, you will have to produce a profit and loss statement for the last 2 years.
2. Has there been a change in your situation?
There are some instances in which an order for child support can be altered or changed if there is a change in circumstances for the individuals involved. A change in circumstances can be recognized in a variety of different forms, but some of the most common options include:
- The incarceration of a parent
- The loss of a job
- One parent having a child in another relationship
- A change in income
- A significant change to the child’s needs which may increase the costs of healthcare, childcare, or education
- Change in the amount of time a child spends with each of his or her parents
It is important to have your request pending immediately as it does take time to get into court. Sometimes it can take months before you will be able to have your case heard. Filing right away will reserve the retroactivity date.
3. Work with a professional attorney in your area!
Although it is possible to access free child-support calculators online, it is easy to call their accuracy into doubt. Calculating child support on your own can be done however you will usually find this will only lead to confusion and frustration. There is no way to ensure that you are taking all the deductions that you can or using the right figures. Usually, working with an experienced and professional family lawyer will ensure that you have all the information you need regarding child support payments.
You may still get along with your former spouse but this is a legal matter now and you want to have someone who knows this arena on your side.
Minella Law Group can Help with California Child Support Issues
If you think you need assistance with calculating your child support, or you feel your support order is too high, we can help. We can take a look at the order and determine if there is a way to reduce or increase support based on the needs of the child and income of the parties. For more information or to schedule an appointment, click the button below, or call us at (619) 289-7948. We look forward to helping you.