Tips for using California's child support calculator

When parents in Orange County decide that they have no other option but to part ways, there are often a list of legal issues that need to be addressed. No matter whether parents were married at the time of their breakup, the non-custodial parent is often responsible for paying child support. There are many resources available for looking at California's child support guidelines. However, it can be confusing and frustrating to try and figure out the law on one's own.

The first question both non-custodial and custodial parents often have regarding child support is how much the monthly child support payment will be. Arriving at this number can be a complicated process, especially without the aid of a qualified family law attorney. The figure is determined using an array of factors, many of which can change quickly and without warning.

Many local parents will first go online to try and get an estimate of their monthly child support payment. California's Department of Child Support Services offers an online calculator for this task, although the end result is not necessarily the exact amount that the parent will end up paying each month. Child Support Services notes that the end result is based not only on each parent's monthly net income, but also parenting time. Moreover, the income of each parent is calculated with wages and tips but also non-reported income and other sources of money including Social Security, bonuses, rental income, dividends, unemployment benefits, workers' compensation benefits and more.

Since the calculator involves entering so many different types of income, it's best to use it when prepared. A parent may have to gather quite a few documents before obtaining an estimate of a monthly payment. Child Support Services recommends looking the calculator over first to see what type of information will be needed for each data entry field, then gathering the necessary documents and returning to the calculator in order to actually input the information. Exiting the calculator before saving or after the timeout feature has gone into effect could cause a loss of time, effort and information.

Providing for the financial needs of one's child is often difficult enough without involving unnecessary frustration. A skilled child support attorney can sort through California's child support guidelines for a parent and offer him or her sound legal advice.