Kathleen J. Smith, Attorney at Law

What factors are considered for California child support?

As a parent, you know that raising children is expensive. At the time you decided to have kids, you likely believed that you and your spouse could effectively handle the financial obligations associated with child rearing. However, now that you and the other parent have decided to divorce, you may worry about taking care of these expenses on your own.

If you end up as the custodial parent as determined in your child custody proceedings, you may be entitled to child support from the noncustodial parent. How much support -- if any -- you receive will depend on a number of factors dictated under California state law, and having information on what the court considers may help you prepare for your case.

Important financial factors

The factors that the court looks at mostly relate to financial aspects of your life and the other parent's life. Some of the aspects a judge will consider include the following:

  • Employment wages
  • Disability benefits
  • Workers' compensation benefits
  • Prize winnings
  • Self-employment earnings
  • Dividends and stocks
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Rental property income
  • Investment interest
  • Social security
  • Pensions

Another important factor is each parent's net disposable income. This income is what you earn after the deduction of taxes, mandatory contributions, health premiums and other costs. Each parent must also file an Income and Expense Declaration form with the court and provide proof of income. If a parent attempts to provide false information to influence the court, he or she could face penalties for perjury.

Time with the kids

In addition to financial aspects, the court will also review the amount of time each parent spends with the kids. The calculation will involving looking at the number of hours you are physically present with the children.

If the court does award child support, the payments will likely last until the children have turned 18 and have graduated high school, have turned 19, or have married, passed away or become otherwise legally free from parental control.

Obtaining support

If you believe that you should receive child support, you will need to provide specific and important information to the court. Because of the sensitive nature of these types of proceedings, you may find it in your best interests to discuss your options with your legal counsel. Your attorney can help you understand state laws regarding child support and what steps you may need to take to work toward the outcomes you desire.

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