Child Support

Child Support: Child Support in California

In California,  child support is calculated using a formula that factors both custodial time and earnings. The result is guideline child support, California’s mandatory child support amount.  Even if you have equal time with your children, there still can be child support if you and the other parent do not earn the same amount. The judge must order guideline child support in your case unless there is an exception. If there is an exception, the child support will be based on the judge’s discretion or the parents’ agreement, called non-guideline child support.

Your child support agreement will go into your divorce agreement to become a court order. It is very important that your agreement becomes a court order so that it is legally enforceable, protecting both of you from future disagreements. 

Child Support Basics

Child support is paid monthly, typically one-half on the 1st and one-half on the 15th of the month. Child support is paid directly to the parent receiving child support and intended to help cover the child’s basic living expenses like housing, clothing, food, and transportation, while with that parent. Past basic living expenses, children are expensive and have a number of other needs. Some of these expenses qualify for additional child support and both parents will be required to pay a portion.  I’ll discuss these qualifying expenses in more detail later.

Child support is also nontaxable. The recipient parent doesn’t pay taxes on the child support received and the parent paying support, payer, doesn’t take a tax deduction for what was paid.

Child support is paid until the child is 18 and graduates high school; or, if the child does not graduate high school, until 19. In the rare case a child marries as a minor, child support will end when the child marries. 

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