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California child support guidelines based on objective factors

Long ago, it was assumed that in cases of divorce, mothers would likely be granted custody of their children over fathers. That’s no longer presumable in California or anywhere else in the nation although the court has discretion to make subjective determinations as to what would be in a particular child’s best interests regarding custody. The guidelines the court follows to make decisions about child support, on the other hand, are much more objective.

Generally speaking, children age 19 and over do not receive child support in divorce. For those 18 and under, the court typically weighs various factors, likely beginning with the incomes of both parents. In situations where a custodial parent has spent many years out of the workforce at home raising children, this may be a significant factor if, upon finalization of divorce, that parent still has not secured gainful employment to provide for his or her children.

Issues regarding health insurance premiums or child care expenses that are work-related are usually also viewed as determining factors in the court’s decisions as to whether one parent will be mandated to pay child support to the other. Just as disputes over money are often causal factors leading up to divorce, financial disagreements also often interfere with court proceedings pertaining to temporal care and provision for children. One parent may argue that his or her expenses are already too high; therefore, child support payments should be kept to a minimum.

Whether the court would agree may vary according individual circumstances. It’s crucial that any parent seeking child support, as well as any parent being asked to pay support, first research California laws on the topic to avoid negative surprises in court. Any support-related questions may be addressed to an experienced family law attorney.

Source:, “Understand the law on child custody, visitation and support“, Mike Wells, Sept. 2, 2017