FAMILY LAW ARTICLES
After a separation, you and your spouse still need to share in caring for your children. That might include sharing custody and sharing the cost of raising the children. There are several factors involved in calculating child support. The father does not always pay child support to the mother. A family law attorney uses a program called Dissomaster to enter the various factors that determine child support. The program uses those factors to determine who pays and how much that person pays.
Applying for Child Support
When you file for divorce or separate, you do not automatically get child support unless you and your spouse agree that one spouse pays the other. We do not recommend this, as you could pay too much or too little. While one spouse ends up paying the other, in reality, both spouses contribute to the financial well-being of their children.
To receive child support, you must file a motion with the court. Both spouses must also provide proof of income and asset valuation. Alimony also affects child support.
What the Court Uses to Determine Child Support
The court doesn’t pick a number out of the air for child support. California statutes dictate support based on income and other factors, including:
- Income, whether self-employment or a regular W-2 job.
- Timesharing – the amount of time the children live with each parent.
- Health benefits that are paid for by either parent.
- Child care expenses.
- Health care expenses that are not covered by health benefits.
- Extracurricular activity expenses.
- Private school tuition.
- Spousal support.
- Child support that is being paid for children of another relationship.
Visitation is considered “living with” a parent, even if it’s only one night. The parent with visitation spends money on the children for food, shelter, and basic needs; thus, even one overnight per week is calculated into the child support amount one spouse pays another.
Determining Which Spouse Pays
The state determines that each child needs a set amount of money to live in the way they are accustomed to based on the parents’ wages. Parents who make $150,000 can afford to spend more on their children than those who make $50,000.
Once the Dissomaster determines the starting point, it divides one spouse’s income by the other to decide on each spouse’s percentage of the starting amount. The program then looks at who is already paying for health benefits, child care, or private tuition. It adds those in. The program then subtracts the percentages to determine an equal amount for both. The person with money “leftover” pays a percentage of that to the other spouse.
If both parties make an equal amount of money and the children live equally with both spouses, then neither party pays child support to the other except for one person’s share of items that only one spouse pays.
Contact Hartley Lamas et al
If you are separated or ready to file for divorce and want to learn more about child support, contact Hartley Lamas et al for a consultation and to learn more about your rights regarding child support.