Child support in California is computed via a complex calculation. That is why we attorneys use a child support calculator. This calculator factors in all sorts of information, including:

  • Income of both parents
  • The time children spend with you and your spouse
  • Tax benefits each to each of you
  • Payroll deductions
  • Child care costs incurred by each party

What is the difference between a Spousal Support Calculator and aChild Support Calculator?

There is vast difference between the two. The primary difference is the level of discretion a judge has to veer from the calculated amount. With spousal support, the judge MUST look at 14 different factors including any he deems “just and equitable”. A child support calculator offers much less discretion to the judge as it is presumed to be correct. The judge must have good reason to order support that varies widely from the Child Support Calculator. However, California Family Code Section 4057(b) lists reasons for deviation.

Reasons to Deviate from the Child Support Calculator

  1. The parent paying child support has a very high income that would exceed the needs of the child being supported;
  2. The child has special needs warranting a higher support amount;
  3. When you and your spouse agree to a different amount, provided the child is being taken care of;
  4. Where the rental value of the family home where the children resides exceeds the amount mortgage and property taxes;
  5. When you and your spouse have almost equal time sharing and one of you has a much higher income than the other;
  6. When a child is found to have more than 2 parents.

To make matters more confusing there is this tricky little Child Support Calculator change, called Add-Ons.

What are Child Support Calculator Add-Ons and do I qualify?

There are 2 categories of Child Support Calculator Add-ons: things the court MUST add-on and things the court MAY add-on

  • The court MUST add-on the cost of child care and uninsured health care cost for children. These are usually split equally between you and your spouse unless the judge finds that to be inequitable.
  • The court MAY add-on educational costs and the cost of travel for visitation.

As you can see, even if you go to a simple Child Support Calculator, online, there are still a lot of factors to consider that may have never crossed your mind. This is all without even mentioning the Department of Child Support Services. When they get involved, you are dealing with a new ball game, altogether. If you are confused about child support, even if you and your spouse agree to follow guideline, contact a knowledgeable family law professional today. The attorneys at the Edmunds Law Firm are just that. They know about Child Support and they want to help you! Let them!