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How is California child support calculated?

Like other states, child support in California gets calculated using state-established guidelines. In theory, these guidelines are supposed to be easy to understand and apply since they involve putting dollar figures in and analyzing them according to a mathematical formula. The formula gets applied consistently across the state so that Riverside parents can be reasonably sure their child support order is fair.

However, this does not mean that child support matters are free of legal complications and even outright conflict. For instance, parents can easily find themselves at odds over what raw figures should go in to the state's formula in the first place.

Parents might disagree over how much income each person makes, as what constitutes income for child support purposes may not be the same as what appears on one's income tax return. Furthermore, parents may argue that one of them could be earning more if they simply tried harder to get a better paying job. Alternatively, a parent may allege that some of their income should not be counted since it is temporary or variable.

Other things, like how much a parent is paying in health insurance or child care costs, also get factored in as part of the child support calculation. Another significant factor is how much time each parent has the children in his or her home, as the assumption is that having a child spend the night involves cost in terms of food and shelter.

Child support in California is not always simply a matter of applying a set formula to one's income and expenses. In many cases, having the help of an experienced family law attorney with resolving child support issues is a good idea.

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