There is so much uncertainty in a divorce, it’s hard to keep up. You’re concerned about your emotional state first, then you have all these worries about property and money. In that swirl of mental chaos, it’s easy to lose track of how things work.
Within the fog of paranoia, we sometimes worry when it’s unnecessary. We’re concerned about outcomes, forgetting that there are often direct formulas we can follow to predict those outcomes.
Child support is an area with just such a formula. It is complicated, and it can be hard to follow, but there is a direct way to determine how much you will pay or receive in child support.
However, circumstances can alter this formula. In this article, we will discuss the child support formula and explore outside forces that can imbalance it.
The California Child Support Formula
California uses a complex algebraic equation to calculate child support. It looks like this: CS = K (HN - (H%) (TN)), which is essentially meaningless if you don’t know what each element means. Let’s correct that.
“CS” = Child Support
This is the solution the formula is working toward.
“K” = The Amount of Money Needed for the Children
This variable may be confusing to some. If “CS” is the total amount of child support, then why is there a separate variable for how much the kids need?
It’s important to remember that each parent contributes to child support. One makes direct payments, but the other uses a portion of their income directly on the kids. “K” considers the gross income of each parent and decides how much of that should go toward the children alone.
“HN” = High Net
This variable is focused only on the higher earner in the marriage. “HN” is this person’s disposable income after deductions.
“H%” = The Amount of Time the Highest Earner Has with the Kids
California uses a percentage system when making child support rulings. For instance, parents can have a 65/35 split with the kids, annually. Custody is not solely based on incomes. The highest earner could have the kids most of the time. The formula deducts your percentage of time with the children, assuming that when you are with them, this portion of your income goes toward their wellbeing.
“TN” = Total Net
This is the combined disposable income of each parent.
This formula is plugged into a computer, and its outcome becomes the child support payments. If you have worries about what you will pay for child support, you can find online calculators to help. Each state is a little different, so make sure you’re using one that is specific to California.
One of the main takeaways from this formula is this: Child support shouldn’t be a crippling burden on the payer. It is based on the incomes of both parents and the needs of the kids. Once all your deductions and other considerations are factored in, you shouldn’t be paying much more of your income on child support than you were during the marriage.
When child support payments are untenable, there may have been a problem with the original calculations. If your life has not changed significantly since the original child support order, and you can’t manage the payments, you can request an alteration. Work with your lawyer and plead with the courts. Explain that these payments are imbalanced with your income, and keeping up with them isn’t possible. The court may take a second look at the original order and make the necessary changes.
Abuse Affecting Child Support Decisions
Sometimes, a family court can make decisions like a civil court. Civil court is designed to financially compensate someone for their injuries. When it comes to allegations of abuse, a divorce court can do the same.
If the kids have been the victims of or witnesses to abuse, a court can compensate them for their troubles. It can order a greater amount of child support for the payee as a form of compensation.
If you are on either side of this issue, you need a good attorney to help you. When your kids have been victimized, your lawyer can gather evidence and help prove this claim in court, much like a plaintiff in a civil case. Alternatively, if you’ve been falsely accused of abusing the kids, you need your lawyer to act in your defense, gathering facts to disprove these claims.
Our firm can help with questions or concerns about child support. You can call us today at (949) 565-4158 for a consultation, and you can contact us online.