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Two factors will determine how your child support is calculated

How much will I have to pay? How much will I receive? This is a common question divorcing parents who wish to know about the specifics relating to child support often ask.

Like many states, California, utilizes a child support formula to determine if, when and how much child support will be paid.

If you are a parent going through a divorce, here is the breakdown.

Two parts to the formula

In a nutshell, your child support in the state of California is based on a formula encompassing two main factors:

  1. Each parent's net disposable monthly income
  2. Time the child spends with each parent

Data based on this information is entered in specific fields of the child support guideline calculator to determine the appropriate child support amount in your situation.

What's considered disposable monthly income?

Disposable monthly income, in essence, is based on you or your spouse's monthly income. This includes wages from your job but it also includes other types of monetary income such as:

  • Tips, commissions or bonuses from your job
  • Dividends or interest earned from stocks
  • Social Security Disability or workers' compensation benefits
  • Income from rental property
  • Lottery winnings

Payments not included in the monthly income calculation

Your income is classified as "disposable" because there are certain payments that will be deducted from you or your spouse's monthly income for purposes of calculating child support. They include but are not limited to:

  • Taxes
  • Union dues
  • Mandatory job-related expenses
  • Retirement contributions
  • Healthcare premiums and costs

Assistance calculating child support for your circumstance

The California child support calculator (and user guide) is publically available to any parent who wishes to get an idea of what they will owe in their specific situation.

However, depending on your circumstance, the calculation can get tricky, particularly if you have remarried, are already paying child support for another child in a different relationship, or own a small business.

Getting the help of an attorney who can walk you through the steps to make sure your calculation is accurate and answer questions pertaining to the law is advised.

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