What You Need To Know About Child Support
At the Law Office of Stephen W. Penn and Associates, we believe that our clients should be as educated as possible in the area of child support so that they can make informed decisions. We provide this summary, which is not intended to be legal advice, to give an overview of the child support laws in the state of California.
How Child Support Is Calculated
Child support laws in California are, for the most part, income driven. Our legislature has devised a formula whereby the incomes and major tax deductions (i.e., mortgage interest and property taxes) of both parties are put into a computer program and the program calculates the amount of child support to be paid.
The program takes into account the percentage of time the children spend with each parent as well as contributions to deferred savings plans, medical insurance payments and other appropriate deductions. Then it calculates net (after tax) income available to the family and apportions the income between the two families. While these programs are helpful, it is not always easy to determine someone’s income, especially for those who are self-employed.
The payment calculated by the program is generally ordered by the court. Courts do not deviate from this guideline payment except in very narrow circumstances. The courts must also order that the parties share in uninsured health care costs for the children and that the parties share in child care costs related to employment. The apportionment of these costs is generally 50/50; however, the court can, in some circumstances, order a different apportionment.
What A Family Lawyer Can Do To Help
We work regularly with forensic certified public accountants who have expertise in family law matters to ensure that child support calculations for our clients are as accurate as they can be.
In our opinion, the child support laws in the state of California are somewhat arbitrary because the result is not always rationally related to the needs of the children. However, until the law changes, the guidelines are followed by the courts and it is our job to ensure that the information that is relied upon by the court in making the child support agreement is accurate.