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Calculating Child Support In California

Last updated on August 3, 2020

In California, courts typically calculate child support using a complicated algebraic formula ― a formula that becomes increasingly complex if you or your child’s other parent is a high-wage earner, such as a business owner, lawyer, doctor or professional athlete.

While often difficult to understand without legal guidance, this formula primarily examines two important factors when calculating child support in California, including:

  • The income of both parents
  • The child custody arrangement and time each parent spends with the child

California courts apply this same formula regardless of whether you are going through a divorce or are involved in a possible paternity action.

If you have questions about child support or paternity actions in California, the Law Offices of Lynda Sheridan can help. With more than 20 years of legal experience, attorney Lynda Sheridan understands the intricacies of child support law in California, particularly when it comes to high-wage earners. For a FREE 30-minute telephone consultation with a skilled lawyer, reach out to us online or call us at 310-272-5357. From our office in Century City, we represent clients throughout Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, including Orange County.

Can California Courts Ever Deviate From The Child Support Formula?

Even though California law presumes child support obligations established using the predetermined formula are correct, the court can deviate from these amounts in very specific circumstances, such as when a parent is a high-wage earner.

For instance, if a court is ordering you to pay child support, but you have an extraordinarily high income, the court can deviate from the support obligation calculated using the formula since this amount would greatly exceed the needs of the child. If the court determines a departure from the formula is warranted, the burden then shifts to the other parent to prove the child’s needs justify the larger child support obligation ― a burden that is subjective.

In any case, it is best to consult with a lawyer to learn what your rights and options may be.