What is California Guideline Child Support?

California guideline child support refers to monetary support parents provide for their children to cover living and medical expenses. Under California’s family code, both parents are required to support their minor children. Read on to learn more about California guideline child support and how to obtain a child support order.

California Guideline Child Support Overview

When filing a petition for child support, the court will access the California guideline child support minimum. The formula used to calculate child support is known as the child support guidelines. The guidelines are based on each parent’s disposable monthly income and his/her percentage of child timeshare.

Each parent must report all sources of income. Net disposable income is determined by subtracting the following items from gross income:

  • Taxes
  • Union dues
  • Retirement contributions
  • Health premiums
  • Child and spousal support being paid
  • Costs of raising children from another relationship

When ordering child support, the court must do what is in the child’s best interest. We recommend using DissoMaster™ Program, CalSupport™ or Supportax® to obtain an estimate of how much support may be ordered.  You can also contact us to obtain a calculation. We can run various scenarios based on timeshare arrangments and the income of each parent. Keep in mind that general expenses such as rent, indebtedness, and ongoing costs of living is not considered in calculating support. Child support usually last until a child reach 18-years-old or graduates from high school.

Parents may choose to reach a child support agreement outside of court. The amount accepted can be lower than the established guideline. The court maintains authority to order guideline support be paid. If parents agree to an amount below California’s guideline child support, the court will ensure that the reduced amount meets the child’s needs and are in his/her best interest.

How to Obtain a Child Support Order

You can obtain a child support order directly from your local court or child support agency. If you are married or in a registered domestic partnership, you can obtain a child support order under the following circumstances:

  • Filing for divorce or legal separation. You can obtain a child support order once you file for divorce.
  • Obtaining a domestic violence restraining order. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can request a child support order when you obtain the restraining order.
  • Petition for custody and support of minor children. If you do not want to obtain a divorce or legal separation, you can file a Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children to obtain a support order.
  • Legal child support agency case. Either parent can request for the local child support agency to open a support case.

If you are not married to the other parent or in a registered domestic partnership, you can obtain a child support order under the following circumstances:

  • Parentage action. A parentage action allows you to obtain a child support order when you are not married and have children together.
  • Domestic violence restraining order. See above.
  • Petition for custody and support of minor children. If both parents have signed a Declaration of Paternity, you can file a Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children. 
  • Local child support agency. See above.

The type of case you open depends on your circumstances. Contact San Diego Esquire to find out how to obtain a child support order.

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