CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

By Irving H. Zaroff, JD LMFT and Dana Schutz, MA LMFT

Mathematics is written for mathematicians
~Nicolaus Copernicus

How do courts calculate child support in California? The overriding principle is that the support be in the children's best interest, while a key component is a guideline which is determined by a somewhat complicated formula.

Although we won't be explaining the math of the calculations, which can be daunting to understand, let's look at the "input" that goes into the formula. Obviously, if you can change the data that goes "in" you affect the result that comes "out." This provides attorneys (and judges) with plenty of work to do.

The components are (1) the gross income of the parents; (2) certain deductions that may be allowed from gross income; (3) the number of children; and (4) the percentage of custody each parent has. In this month's article we look only at one component - gross income. Gross income includes common sources such as earnings, rents, investments, pensions, trust income, annuities, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, Social Security, and spousal support from a previous marriage. It also includes business income and may include the value of employee benefits. (Practice Under the California Family Code 2012).

The components are (1) the gross income of the parents; (2) certain deductions that may be allowed from gross income; (3) the number of children; and (4) the percentage of custody each parent has. In this month's article we look only at one component - gross income. Gross income includes common sources such as earnings, rents, investments, pensions, trust income, annuities, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, Social Security, and spousal support from a previous marriage. It also includes business income and may include the value of employee benefits. (Practice Under the California Family Code 2012).

The point is that the best interests of the children must be factored in when determining child support. It could be a better place to live or more time with parents. It isn't always the math that counts.



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