The state of California has a mandatory child support guideline formula that must be applied in every case. The most important factors in setting child support are:
- Each parent’s income
- The amount of time each parent spends with the child
Other factors can play an important role in determining child support, such as the amount of the home mortgage payment, tax filing status, and child care expenses.
Even though there is a guideline for child support, there is a give-and-take negotiation between attorneys in determining child support, since many of the inputs are subject to interpretation.
Since the child support formula is extremely complicated, the court uses a computer program known as DissomasterTM to calculate child support. There are many inputs involved in calculating child support, and a skilled family law attorney can easily manipulate these inputs and produce different results depending on whether they represent the party paying or receiving support.
Use our child and spousal support calculator to get a better idea of how much support you may be required to pay or be entitled to receive after your divorce is final.
Negotiating Child Support
Even though there is a guideline for child support, there is a give-and-take negotiation between attorneys in determining child support, since many of the inputs are subject to interpretation. If you have a skilled attorney, he or she should discuss whether there are any potential issues in your case that would impact the amount of child support and how to best deal with these issues.
Other Child Support Issues
Some issues that commonly arise in child support cases are those involving how to deal with overtime and bonus income. Oftentimes the court will order a base amount of child support and order an additional percentage of any bonuses or overtime received. This type of order is known as a Smith-Ostler order and is quite common.