California Child Support Calculator

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Factors in the California child support formula
  • Eligible children: Qualifying children in California must be under the age of 19 or still in high school. Disabled children who must remain with the residential parent may require child support past these limits.
  • Parenting time percentage: The amount of time you have your children, as a percentage. Calculate this using a parenting time percentage calculator.
  • Monthly income: California law requires the use of both parents' incomes from wages, unemployment, bonuses and dividends, subtracting out income taxes, health insurance premiums, mandatory retirement contributions, mandatory union dues, alimony, and child support payments because of other children.
Don't guess or estimate your parenting time percentage

Guessing or estimating your parenting time can impact your support order by thousands of dollars, when you look at the difference over a year or more.

However, attorneys (and even the courts) usually guess or estimate parenting time percentages because manually counting parenting time is tedious and time consuming.

Fortunately, software has been developed that lets you quickly create a detailed schedule and accurately calculate this percentage, so that you can have a fair and accurate child support calculation.

Use Custody X Change to calculate your parenting time percentage so you have a fair and accurate child support calculation.

Calculate Your Time Percentage Now

Using software, you can also tweak your schedule to see how even little changes affect your total time percentages. You will also see how your parenting time changes each year due to holidays and other events.

With software you can also track what actually happens, and show how much time you've actually received for any period of time. Historical information is a powerful tool when you request a child support modification or when you request more parenting time.

Child support and parenting time examples

Consider a hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert earns $4,000 per month (after all the deductions), while Mary earns $2,400 per month (after all the deductions). They have two children.

  • Scenario #1: Robert has the children for 20% of the year, which is estimated from an alternating weekends schedule. He would pay $816 in monthly child support to Mary.
  • Scenario #2: They decide to include all the major holidays, and split them evenly. This raises Robert's time to 25%. Now he would pay $750 in monthly child support to Mary. This is an difference of $792 annually.
  • Scenario #3: They decide that Robert can have four uninterrupted weeks of parenting time in the summer. This raises his time to 31%. Now he would pay $660 in monthly child support to Mary. This is an additional difference of $1,080 annually.
  • Scenario #4: They decide on a schedule that gives them each equal parenting time, at 50% each. Now he would pay $300 in monthly child support to Mary. This is an additional difference of $4,320 annually.
Sole vs joint physical custody

California uses the same formula, regardless of whether you have sole physical custody or joint physical custody. The parent who hosts the children for more time generally receives the child support.

The smaller the difference between the parents' income and the more time the higher earning parent spends with the children, the less child support that parent will owe.

How accurate child support helps your children

Having an accurate child support order helps your children. Doing so:

  • Ensures that their financial needs are met
  • Guarantees the child support amount reflects each parent's responsibilities
  • Is compliant with California law

Your financial obligations to your children don't end with divorce or separation, so whether you are paying or receiving child support, you owe it to your children to pay or receive the proper amount.

Additional resources

You can read more about the California child support law and formula by reading the "Statewide Uniform Guideline" on Child Support in the California Family Code, Sections 4050-4076.

To have a child support order put in place or modified, contact a local California attorney.

Use Custody X Change to calculate your parenting time percentage so you have a fair and accurate child support calculation.

Calculate Your Time