The primary source for this article are my personal experiences and the guide book used by California judges. Many of these points are applicable to spousal support as well. The first order of business is for the court to determine each parents gross income before any deductions are made. The court wants a report of the last 12 months of income supported by either a profit and loss statement for the year or a year to date pay stub. The court expects an exchange of last years tax return as well.
NEW SPOUSE or SIGNIFICANT OTHER’S INCOME is not usually considered unless an unusual case arises.
Earning capacity may be considered if one parent is refusing work otherwise available. The court has little patience for the argument – “I cant support my child because I need to go to school.”
HARDSHIPS are considered on a limited basis such as health expenses or uninsured losses, but again, this is not an area where the court likes to hear a lot of excuses.
The Net Disposable Income should be calculated and then divided by twelve to determine the appropriate monthly support obligation.
Of course time share and the income tax filing status of both parties are critical factors as well. If a father for example visits every other weekend, half the holidays, one evening during the week, and six weeks in the summer, he has more or less than a 20% time share.
These factors are then entered into the state child support software calculator. The software is available at – Calculate Child Support.
The guide line amount must be fallowed by the court unless the court finds that it would be unjust or inappropriate. Sometimes for high earners the court finds an appropriate amount needed to support the child.
To modify a child support order, the court reviews several factors to determine if there has been a change in circumstances to justify a change in the support order. It is critical to know the court is not able to make an order retroactive to a date before the motion is filed.
Contact our Carlsbad child support attorney for a consultation regarding your legal matter.