Who Pays Child Support and Why?

The decision to divorce is a difficult one. The “unknown” is often scary, especially when children are involved. The question is often asked: who pays child support and why? Child support is meant to alleviate some of the unknown. It is to provide support for the children of divorced parents so that their lifestyle is not drastically different from one household to the next and so that their needs continue to be met at each parent’s home. A child support lawyer can help with the specifics of your case, but here is a general overview.

How is child support calculated?

In California, child support is regulated by statute. The Court throughout the state of California uses a formula to determine how much support one parent will pay to the other in order to ensure that the needs of the child(ren) will be met. The calculation considers physical custody (the time that each child will spend with each parent), the income of both parties, tax filing status. It also includes some expenses including health insurance and mandatory retirement contributions. 

The Custody Percentage

It is easiest to enter the custody percentage when a regular custody schedule is being followed. For example, a child that spends two weeknights with each parent and alternates weekend visitation has a 50% timeshare with each parent. If a regular schedule is not followed, it is helpful to keep an accurate calendar that documents the custody time spent with each parent.  The court may want evidence to support a custody schedule that is not regularly maintained. The greater the percentage of time spent with your child, the lower the support obligation will be because you will be responsible for paying for your child’s needs when he/she is with you.

Income – Who Pays Child Support?

After a percentage is calculated, the income is entered into the calculator. Not all income is created equal and the child support calculator, “Dissomaster,” takes this into account. It differentiates whether income is a stipend, non-taxable, regular income, or bonus income. Generally speaking, all income received by a parent is considered available for the support of a child unless it is support for another child from a different relationship or for the specific benefit of another person. This includes regular wages, bonus wages, overtime, profits received from a business, military allowance, disability, public assistance, pension, rental income, and regular contributions from others.

You will need to provide pay stubs, a profit loss statement if you own your own business, and W2 forms to demonstrate your income to the court properly. In addition to support, each party is responsible for half of the childcare expenses for employment or education. Both parents are responsible for half of all medical expenses not covered by insurance. 

The purpose of support is always to fulfill the needs of the child. The court presumes that the parent receiving support will act in the best interest of the child when spending money received in child support. The receiving parent is not obligated to provide an accounting of how the support is spent. 

If you are looking for a child support lawyer, have questions regarding your support obligation, or need to open a child support case, email or call Burgos Santoyo Smith, Inc. today.

*DISCLAIMER: The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice but should be construed for general informational purposes only.

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