How is Child Support Calculated? 

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    When two people agree to split when a child is involved, among the most pressing questions is whether child support will be paid. Among whether child support is to be paid, how much the child support will be is another pressing question. Most states have a universal guideline for calculating how much child support will be paid. However, in California, the guideline is not only based on the parents’ incomes. California utilizes a complicated formula that also accounts for how much time each parent spends with the child. No matter if the parents agree on support or the judge decides for them, sate guidelines will still apply. Understanding the basic concepts of how child support is calculated will help you in the process. So, how exactly is child support calculated? Read on to learn more. 

    Factors Involved with Calculating Child Support 

    When child support is being calculated, California uses a complex formula to help determine that amount to be paid. However, there is a online child support calculator you can use to estimate the amount before you go through the process. The calculator provides a rough estimate of what you can expect to pay/receive based on your situation. It should be noted that a judge may decide on a vastly different amount of support in your case. So when you are using the online calculator only use it as a rough estimate, not an accurate number. The formula that California uses to calculate child support is as follows: CS = K (HN – (H%)(TN)). We know that this looks complicated, so let’s break the formula down: 

    • CS is the child support amount. 
    • K is the amount of the parents’ combined total income that must be devoted to child support. 
    • HN represents the high net. Meaning the higher-earning parent’s net monthly disposable income. 
    • H% is the approximate percentage of time that the higher-earning parent will have with the child(s). 
    • TN is the combined total net monthly disposable income of both parents. 

    Other Child Support Guidelines 

    When calculating child support, the number of children will also affect the outcome of the support amount. Instead of multiplying the end amount by how many children are involved, California has a specific way to calculate the amount. For cases with two children, you multiply the support amount by 1.6. For cases with three children, you multiply the support amount by two. For cases with four children, you multiply the support amount by 2.3. For cases with five children, you multiply the support amount by 2.5. California’s guidelines and law provide multipliers for up to 10 children in a case.  

    The county child support commissioner or family law judge has the final authority to determine the amount of child support. The calculator will only provide an estimate amount and is not a guarantee of the amount that will be ordered. For more information regarding how child support is calculated, visit California Child Support Services

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