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California Child Support

California uses the Income Shares Model for calculating child support. If the parents are unable to agree on child support, the judge will make a determination based on a statewide formula. The guideline calculation depends on the following criteria:

  • How much money the parents earn or can earn;
  • How much other income each parent receives;
  • How many children these parents have together;
  • How much time each parent spends with their child(ren);
  • The actual tax filing status of each parent;
  • Support of children from other relationships;
  • Health insurance expenses;
  • Mandatory union dues;
  • Mandatory retirement contributions;
  • The cost of sharing daycare and uninsured health-care costs; and
  • Other relevant factors.

Special needs expenses, such as traveling for visitation from one parent to the other and educational expenses may be included in child support payments.

  • Parents may agree on a different support amount if they meet the following requirements.
  • They fully know their child support rights;
  • They know the guideline child support amount;
  • They are not pressured or forced to agree to this child support amount;
  • They are not receiving, nor have they applied for public assistance;
  • They believe that the child support amount is in the best interest of the child(ren); and
  • A judge approves the agreed upon amount of child support payments.

Court-ordered child support typically ends when the child marries or registers a domestic partnership; dies; is emancipated; turns 18 and is not a full-time high school student; or turns 19. 

The court may order that both parents continue to support a disabled adult child who is unable to be self-sufficient.