How is child support calculated?

When a child is involved in a family dispute, both custody and support can become major issues of contention. A parent who cares for the child may be entitled to receive child support from the other parent. There is a statewide formula that is used to calculate the amount of such support. You can use child support calculators on the California court website to estimate the amount of child support. However, there are some basic factors may be used for calculation of support. Being aware of these factors can be extremely important.

Parents Income

An important factor in calculation of child support is the net disposable income of each parent. Because the courts look at the net income, it becomes important to itemize your expenses the amount can be determined with accuracy.

Custodial Time

Another important factor is the division of physical custody or financial responsibility of each parent. Generally, as the percentage of the physical custodial time increases the parents obligation to pay child support is reduced. For example, if a parent has physical custody of the child 80% of the time, then the parent with 20% custody will likely be required to pay support.

Child Expenses & Living Standard

The expenses of the child is also another important factor that may be considered in determining the child support amount. This because the courts does not favor unnecessary change in child’s standard of living. Thus, standard of living can become an important factor. This often becomes even more important when the courts look to see if deviation from the standard child support obligation is warranted.


The factors stated above are important in calculating child support amount. However, each case is different. It is important that you speak to a family law attorney about your specific case.

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