Those people who are going through a divorce or otherwise dealing with child support negotiations may wonder how exactly child support payments are determined. Why do you pay the amount you do? Or how did the judge decide on the amount your ex will pay you?
Child support is calculated differently in every state, so it's important that people here in California have a good understanding of the details of our laws. But in general, child support calculations focus on a few major factors.
The needs of the child or children are always at the center of any discussion. A court will usually look at what that means financially. For example, the costs of day care, schooling, insurance and any special needs will be considered carefully. In connection with this, a judge will also factor in the financial needs of the custodial parent while looking at his or her income.
Next, the income of the non-custodial parent will be a factor. A parent can't pay more than he or she makes. However, courts will often look further than that parent's current income by considering his or her potential for earning, which will prevent a parent from not working and claiming they can't make child support payments.
Finally, although most judges know that it is not always easy to maintain the same standard of living after a divorce, the standard of living before a divorce will be taken into consideration when determining how much a parent will pay in child support.
In the end, child support is about making sure the children's needs are met. If you want to learn more about how child support is determined in California, speaking to an experienced family law attorney may be helpful.