Parents who are separating in California – whether they are going through a divorce or they were never married at all – usually need to have a child support order in place. Such an order will typically specify how much child support should be paid, by whom and when. But, how are these orders determined?
First, a family law judge will be guided by the principle that each parent is equally responsible for the financial costs of raising a child, typically all the way until the child reaches the age of 18. In order to set child support to begin with, a judge will likely determine which of the parents needs to pay child support to the other. There are a number of factors involved in making the decisions in a child support matter.
For example, a judge will look at: how much each parent earns in income; whether each parent has children from other relationships; the child’s actual expenses, such as for schooling, healthcare and extracurricular activities; and the cost of child care.
These are just a few different factors – every case is different. The judge, however, will typically adhere to state-mandated “guidelines” when attempting to determine how much child support the parent should pay the other parent.
Your child support order
It is clear that the exact “formula” for calculating child support can seem like a mystery to many parents. Each child support order is unique. For more information, please visit the child support overview section of the law firm’s website.