2024 What Is the Average Child Support Payment Per Child in California?

A quick overview of the practical components of child support in California

September 15, 2023

Child support orders that accompany child custody or child support cases in Orange County, California usually require the knowledge of a dedicated child support attorney and legal team. As a parent, your relationship with your children and your financial capability to care for them is of utmost importance, and the Law Offices of Holly A. Lemkin, APC, can help you get effective legal representation so that nothing you hold dear hangs in jeopardy.

As a custodial parent, it is imperative that you know your rights. California child support laws are notorious for their complexity, and a knowledgeable, aggressive attorney can help determine whether you or your spouse should pay child support and, if so, exactly how much. Working with an Orange County divorce attorney to determine child support payment amounts is imperative for the future well-being of your family unit.

What Is Child Support?

Child support payments require one parent to provide a specific amount of money to the other parent in order to ensure all costs of child-rearing for one or more minors are covered. This payment is court-ordered and is typically made by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. It differs from child custody in that this term pertains to the legal arrangement in which a parent makes decisions about the child’s residence and upbringing.

In Orange County specifically, parents may also agree on child support amounts that differ from the state guidelines. A reputable, hands-on divorce attorney will work continually with you to ensure you account for all the expenses associated with supporting your children, especially if your child has special needs or requires a therapist for any emotional upheaval associated with the divorce.

Understanding the Process

There are several legal steps involved in a child support case. A child support case can be sought by a parent, but it can also be initiated by the state of California. If the case is started by a parent who is seeking child support, they will need to file a case with the court that gives information about their child, the income earned from the other parent, and a list of expenses required to care for the child adequately.

Once the case is filed, the actual amount of child support can be calculated based upon California’s Guideline calculation, which takes into account both parents’ incomes, the number of children needing support, as well as the time each parent will spend caring for the child.

Finally, the process will require court hearings to secure a child support order if both parents cannot agree to child support details on their own. In court, a judge will hear both arguments and then make a ruling based on the interests of the child.

After the ruling, the court will issue a child support order; if, in the future, a significant change in circumstances occurs with a parent, these orders can be modified in court if a parent files another motion.

How Child Support Is Calculated

California uses a state-specific calculator to formulate the amount of support a child or children should receive on a case-by-case basis. The state then assigns financial responsibility to each parent utilizing a model referred to as the income shares model. Income share simply abides by the monthly cost per child in accordance with the percentage of the total family income each parent earns.

For instance, if a non-custodial parent makes 70% of the household’s total income, the amount of child support they are responsible for will be 70% of the monthly costs per child. Judges are, however, within their jurisdiction to raise or lower the calculated amounts based on the details of each individual case.

FAQs About California Average Child Support Payment Per Child

What Is the New Child Support Law in 2024 California?

New child support laws in California introduce updates to the state calculation methods, which take into consideration the need for both parents to contribute to their child’s financial needs while simultaneously accounting for their earned income, the time they spend with their child, and other factors. New laws also add ease to the process of changing existing child support orders, so parents can adjust payments if their financial situation changes or if their child’s needs call for more or less support.

How Much Should a Father Pay for Child Support in California?

Fathers in California can expect to pay child support based on certain factors that include personal income, the number of children they have, and the agreed-upon custody arrangements. Per state guidelines, this amount is calculated using a specific formula that factors in the custodial parent’s income, the non-custodial parent’s income, and the exact amount of time each parent spends caring for their child. Most fathers can expect to pay between 15-25% of their gross income for one child, and the amount increases with additional children.

Who Pays Child Support in 50/50 Custody Cases in California?

This type of custody arrangement does not indicate that parents are not responsible for child support. In California, both parents have a legal responsibility to provide financial support to their child. Custody is not the only determining factor in a custody case, and there are many situations in which one parent must provide child support even when care is evenly split. Ultimately, the judge will determine an appropriate amount, if any, based on the nuances of the case.

How Does California Calculate Child Support?

Several pieces of information are necessary to calculate the amount of child support with California’s formula. You will need the following:

  • Each parent’s gross income and net disposable income
  • The percentage of time each child will spend with each parent
  • The necessary costs for the care of each child

The formula appears thus: CS = K (HN – (H%) (TN)), with CS meaning Child Support, K meaning the parents’ combined total income, HN meaning the highest-earning parent’s monthly disposable income, H% meaning the approximate percentage of time that parents will spend with the child, and TN mean in the combined total net monthly income of both parents.

Your Family’s Future Is Bright

It may be hard to see from your current vantage point, but you are making the right decision for yourself and your children when it comes to future health and happiness. You are strong, courageous, and incredibly smart for taking this step. The Law Offices of Hollie A. Lemkin, APC, is here to help. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

Call today to speak with Hollie A. Lemkin to discuss your questions & issues!


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