When two parents separate, it is often the children who suffer most.  Child support is a court-sanctioned way to help alleviate some of that suffering.  Child support is a financial obligation that is typically paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to help provide for the well-being of the children. While every case is different, there are some general guidelines that the courts follow in determining how much child support should be.

As a general principle, California law holds that both parents are mutually responsible for the support of their children.  Each parent is expected to make their best effort to provide for their children according to their ability to do so.  It is also presumed under California law that the custodial parent is the one who “contributes a significant portion of available resources for the support of the children”.  With those principles in mind, California has tried to create a uniform process to determine child support obligations.

In calculating the precise amount of child support, California Family Code §4055 details a very specific mathematical formula that serves as a uniform guideline for determining child support orders.  The biggest factors in that formula are the income levels of each respective parent as well as the amount of time that the children will be with each parent.  The formula is so complex that the courts use computer programs to calculate it.

Child support is a very delicate issue because of the emotions involved and because of the significant impact that it can have on the lives of innocent children.  This brief overview in no way substitutes for effectively legal representation. If you are involved in a custody dispute, you need an experienced family law attorney on your side.  Please call us today at (916) 608-8891.

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