Child support is money a court orders one parent to pay the other parent to support their children. California has a guideline formula for calculating how much child support should be paid if the parents cannot agree on an amount. The judge decides the child support based on:
- How much money the parents earn or can earn
- How much other income each parent receives
- How many children the parents have together
- How much time each parent spends with their children
- The tax filing status of each parent
- Support of children from other relationships
- Health insurance expenses
- Mandatory union dues
- Mandatory retirement contributions
- The cost of sharing daycare and uninsured health-care
Child support can also include the cost of special needs like traveling for visitation from one parent to another, educational expenses, and other special needs.
Child support payments are usually made until children turn 18 or graduates high school. Parents may agree to support a child longer.
You can ask the judge to make a child support order when you get a divorce, legal separation, or annulment, or establish paternity.
Either parent can later ask the judge to change the amount if the situation changes. Parents can also ask the judge for help enforcing a support order.