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Campbell Family Lawyer > Blog > Child Support > What Is The Child Support Formula In California?

What Is The Child Support Formula In California?


In California, parents are expected to financially support their minor children, even after they get a divorce. For this reason, child support is one of the most common issues in divorce cases that involve children under the age of 18 years old. California uses a statewide formula, also known as a guideline, to determine the amount of child support a parent is obligated to pay. If you are getting a divorce, using this guideline can provide a realistic and accurate amount to be paid for child-related expenses. Below, our Campbell child support lawyer explains more about the formula used.

Child Support Formula Used in California

The formula used to determine child support in California is CS = K (HN – H%)(TN). These letters represent the following:

  • CS is the total amount of child support to be paid,
  • K represents the combined income of both parents,
  • HN stands for ‘high net’ and this represents the amount of disposable income the higher-earner spouse earns,
  • H% denotes the amount of time the higher-earning spouse spends with the child, and
  • TN represents the gross net of both parents

The formula is a general guideline, and a judge may deviate from it when other factors are involved.

Other Factors that Influence Child Support

There are many factors that can influence the amount of child support a parent is obligated to pay. They include:

  • The combined income of the parents: The courts will consider the gross income of each parent, including wages, commissions, bonuses, and income from self-employment. When a parent intentionally lowers their income to avoid child support, the court will impute their income to determine the earning capacity of the parent.
  • Time spent with the child: Generally speaking, when one parent spends more time with the child, they will incur more child-related expenses. As such, the non-custodial parent typically must pay more child support. When the child spends an equal amount of time with both parents, it can lower the overall amount of support.
  • Number of children involved: The amount of child support will largely depend on the amount of children involved. Using the guideline, an amount is set for one child. The law then provides specific multipliers for up to ten children.
  • Mandatory expenses for each parent: Parents sometimes have mandatory expenses they must pay, including contributions to a pension and health insurance. These expenses will be deducted from a parent’s gross income to determine the disposable income that is to be used for the child support formula. Also, when children are covered under one parent’s health insurance plan, a court may order them to pay a portion of the premium as part of the child support order.

Our Child Support Lawyer in Campbell Can Help with Your Case

At Hepner & Pagan, LLP, our Campbell child support lawyer is very familiar with the formula used by the courts and will use it to determine how much support you or your spouse must pay. Call us now at 408-429-8336 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.



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