Everyone who is or was part of a family law case involving children has had the question, “Child support, how is it calculated?”. Well as most people have an idea about how support should be calculated, the truth is, there are only a few factors that the court uses to pump out the California State child support number.

What factors in?


When calculating child support orders, the first item the court looks at is the gross income of each party. Why gross income you ask? If child support was based of the net income, tons of parents would simply contribute more to retirement plans, increase to better health insurance or subscribe to other company offered benefits to reduce their net while increasing their quality if living. That is in no way a benefit to the minor child who would be receiving said funds.


Timeshare is the other largest factor into child support calculations. Custody really has nothing to do with support at all, it is all about the visitation. Easily enough, take the total number of days/hours with one parent and divide by the total in the month and there is your visitation time share percent.


Aside from the previous two items, California also allows for some deductions to come out of the income prior to the calculation. The 3 most common would be health insurance for the minor child. Whoever is paying for the health insurance gets to deduct that monthly premium from their income. This is because those funds are already going for the welfare of the child. Another major deduction is mandatory pension contributions. Some employers still offer pension plans where money is taken out of paychecks without the option not to. The third common deduction is union dues. Any employee working in conjunction with a union must pay these dues as part of their employment.

What doesn’t factor?

There are many factors that people have presumably decided should be part of the calculation, when are not. The most common we see is expenses.


Many people state that they may not be able to afford child support payments as their expenses are too high. Well unfortunate for them, the court is not concerned with how poorly a person manages their finances. If expenses were factored in, every person dodging child support would simply go buy themselves a new car to raise their expenses.

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