Thursday, October 11, 2007

California Child Support Guidelines


In 1984 the California Legislature enacted the Agnos Minimum Child Support Standards Act. This law established minimum levels of child support.

Prior to the law being passed, support calculations in California had no clear framework thereby creating tremendous confusion for parents and the courts.

The statutes establishment of minimum levels of child support means just that. Factors based on such things as the child’s needs, hardships, special medical or educational concerns and costs may increase the support amount the judge may order. These support amounts may be above the statutory minimums. The Child Support Guideline established over 20 years ago was amended, effective July 1, 1992.

The key factors influencing the calculation of child support are: the percentage of visitation or custodial time share, the gross incomes of the parties and the tax advantages or disadvantages the paying and or recipient parent may have.

The child support calculator is driven by a complicated formula. For these reasons, software programs have been created to assist the parties, attorneys and judges in assessing the support amounts.


The Family Code requires that child support must be paid until the child becomes 18, unless the child has not graduated from high school, in which case the child support continues until the child has graduated high school or up to the age of 19, which ever occurs first. Presently, California law does not give judges the power to make a parent support a child beyond the age of 19, unless the child is physically or mentally disabled. However, parents can agree that child support can continue into college years. Such properly prepared agreements will be enforced by the Family Law Court.

Unless the custodial parent agrees otherwise, all child support is to be paid by a wage assignment. This means that the child support payments are to be deducted from the wages of the parent who is obligated to pay child support.

If the parent who pays child support hops jobs or is self employed, the court can create specific orders that the parent paying the support must maintain a bank account with a certain minimum amount of support held in the account in order that the receiving parent can automatically deduct the monthly support obligation.

Getting the correct support order and insuring regular payments of the court ordered amounts is best achieved with the assistance of a qualified family law attorney skilled in this area of law.

The Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock A Professional Law Corporation has its principal office in San Ramon California. Ms. Kock’s practice for the last 29 years covers all aspects of family law.