CALIFORNIA FAMILY LAW

Support: Child and Spousal

Child Support Calculator

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Child Support

Child Support is the money that the court orders one parent to pay the other parent for the support of the children. California uses a “guideline” formula. The formula is based on two primary factors: timeshare of each parent with the children and income of each parent, adjusted for tax consequences. There are several other factors which affect the final amount of support the parent pays, including mandatory retirement deductions from pay; union dues; health insurance payments; other sources of taxable and non-taxable income; other supported children from different relationships; daycare expenses, etc. Both parents have an equal responsibility to support their children.

Child support is payable until the child completes 12th grade or attains the age of 19 years, provided the child is unmarried, is not self-supporting, and is a full-time high school student.

To see the actual “formula” used by the child support calculators, see California Family Code §4055 at the following link:

http://law.onecle.com/california/family/4055.html.

 

FAQ’s
How is child support calculated?

The court uses a sophisticated software program to calculate child support. Generally, most child support awards are based on guidelines that the judge follows. It is primarily based on the income of the parents, the number of children, and the percentage custodial time that each parent has with the children.

The actual formula to determine child support is as follows:

CS=K [HN-(H%)(TN)]

Where CS= child support amount that is ordered
K= amount of both parents’ income to be allocated for child support as set forth in the table below*
HN= High Earner’s net monthly disposable income
H%= approximate percentage of time that the High Earner has or will have primary physical responsibility for the children compared to the other parent
TN= Total Net monthly disposable income of both parents

*Total Net Disposable Income per month K
$0-800 0.20 + TN/16,000
$801-6,666 0.25
$6,667-10,000 0.10 + 1,000/TN
Over $10,000 0.12 +800/TN

For more than one child, multiply CS by:

2 children 1.6
3 children 2
4 children 2.3
5 children 2.5
6 children 2.625

Keep in mind that there are many other variables that are involved. If you would like to get an approximate calculation of child support, follow this link ,HERE.

How long do I have to pay child support?

Generally, the duty to pay child support extends until the child reaches the age of majority, or age 18. However, if the child is unmarried and a full-time high school student, then support extends until that child completes high school or turns 19, which ever occurs first.

Do I have to pay child support even if I have limited or no income?

Payment of child support is considered a duty, so yes, you will have to pay child support. However, if the obligor’s net monthly disposable income is less than one thousand dollars, then the judge may make a low-income adjustment to the guideline child support.

If the other parent refuses to work, what remedy do I have?

The court is empowered to impute income to a parent if the you can prove that the other parent is capable of working, and that the labor market can provide such work.

If the other parent has remarried or has a nonmarital partner, is their income considered in the calculation of child support?

The income of the parent’s subsequent spouse or nonmarital partner shall not be considered when determining or modifying child support, except in extraordinary cases. However, the court will need to know the new parent’s income because the child support formula that the court uses takes into account the tax circumstances of the parties.

How do I modify the current order for child support?

You have to file the appropriate papers with the court asking that the judge modify the existing order based on a change of circumstances. Usually this entails filing and serving on the other parent a new income and expense declaration along with a notice of motion or order to show cause. The other parent then has a certain amount of time to file their response. The court will give you a date and time for the hearing, at which point the judge will make a ruling. The modification is normally retroactive to the date the motion was filed, so if you believe that you are entitled to more child support, it is best to file as soon as possible.

Why is the Department of Child Support Services suing me for child support?

The Department of Child Support Services has been empowered to assist children and parents in establishing orders of parentage and child support.

Normally, if the family is receiving CalWORKS or MediCal (welfare) benefits, the agency will open a case to get orders of parentage (paternity) and support. If no CalWORKS is being paid to the family, either parent may ask the child support agency to open a case. When the parent goes on welfare, that parent’s rights to child support are assigned to the county for the time period the parent is on aid. The agency is charged with the duties to establish and enforce a paternity and child support action in order to reimburse any monies paid to the parent

The agency will also seek to withhold the obligor’s wages, as well as make sure that there are health insurance provisions in the order.

What are arrearages?

Arrearages are support obligations that are past due. If a parent has been ordered to make child support payments, an action to recover an arrearage in those payments may be initiated. The current rate of interest on past due support is 10%.

What can the government do to me if I don’t pay child support?

Contempt and Wage Withholding

The non-custodial parent’s duty to pay child support may be enforced by a contempt action, punishable by a jail sentence and/or a fine. In addition state law requires that child support payments be withheld from a non-custodial parent’s paycheck from the time that child support is ordered.

Health Insurance Assignment

A health insurance coverage assignment is an enforcement tool for medical support that requires the non-custodial parent’s employer (or other person providing health insurance to the non-custodial parent) to enroll the child in the parent’s health insurance plan.

Personal Property Lien

A judgment lien on personal property is a lien on all interests in that property that are subject to enforcement of a money judgment, such as accounts receivable, equipment, inventory, chattel paper, farm products, and negotiable documents of title. The lien continues on the proceeds received upon the sale, collection or other disposition of the property subject to the lien.

Real Property Lien

The District Attorney will record support orders and judgments with the county recorder to create a lien against any real property in that county in which a non-custodial parent has or acquires an interest.

Franchise Tax Board Involvement

State regulations require the Family Support Division or local child support agency to refer delinquent child support obligations to FTB for collection. The FTB collects delinquent child support in the same manner and with the same force and effect as they are authorized to use in the collection of state personal income taxes. The system sorts through more than 200 million records to locate an individual’s assets. Once assets are found, levies are issued that can attach wages, bank accounts (such as checking, savings, IRA and Keogh), rents, royalties, dividends and commissions. The FTB can also seize both real and personal property such as vacant land, cash, safe deposit boxes, vehicles and boats.

Other Enforcement Techniques

Other child support enforcement techniques include: liens, federal and state income tax refund intercepts, unemployment and state disability intercepts, lottery intercepts, writs of execution, contempt proceedings, suspension of professional licenses, driver’s licenses and recreational licenses and also credit approval risk.



Spousal Support

The court may award support to either spouse in any amount and for any period of time that the court deems just and reasonable, based on the standard of living achieved during the marriage. The factors considered are listed below, as well as in California Family Code §4320.

Marital misconduct (with two exceptions) is not a factor to be considered in determining the availability of support. The goal is to make the supported spouse self-supporting within a reasonable period of time, generally considered to be half the length of the marriage, unless the court finds the marriage to be long-term. If a marriage is over 10 years, it is generally considered to be a long-term marriage.

Permanent spousal support is determined by looking at the extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account the following factors:

  • Marketable skills of the supported party, job market for those skills, the time/expense required to develop these skills, and need for retraining or education
  • Extent to which the supported party’s present or future earning capacity is impaired by period of unemployment during the marriage due to domestic duties
  • The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, career or license for the supporting party
  • The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support
  • The needs of each party based on standard of living established during marriage
  • Obligations and assets of each party
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Ability of supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children
  • The age and health of the parties
  • Documented evidence of history of domestic violence between the parties
  • Immediate and specific tax consequences to each party
  • Balance of hardships to each party
  • The goal that the supported party shall be self supporting within a reasonable timeframe
  • Any other factors determined to be just and equitable.

 

FAQ’s
Will I have to pay spousal support?

The court may order you to pay spousal support. The court will consider the extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account a variety of factors including, but not limited to the marketable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment; the length of the marriage; the extent the supported party contributed to the education of the supporting party; the obligations and assets, including the separate property of each party.

How is spousal support calculated?
What happens if I remarry, do I still get to receive spousal support?
How do I modify the current order for spousal support?

The court may require the nonworking spouse to make reasonable efforts to provide for his or her own support needs. The court may order the nonworking spouse to submit applications for employment, attend job training seminars, etc. all as a condition of receiving support. The court also may impute income to the nonworking spouse as if the spouse was employed at a particular skill level. If the court believes that the nonworking spouse is a malingerer, the court is empowered to terminate or modify spousal support accordingly.

What are the consequences of the supported party moving in with a member of the opposite sex?
How long do I have to pay spousal support?
If the other spouse refuses to work, what remedy do I have?

The court may require the nonworking spouse to make reasonable efforts to provide for his or her own support needs. The court may order the nonworking spouse to submit applications for employment, attend job training seminars, etc. all as a condition of receiving support. The court also may impute income to the nonworking spouse as if the spouse was employed at a particular skill level. If the court believes that the nonworking spouse is a malingerer, the court is empowered to terminate or modify spousal support accordingly.