In California there is an established guideline the Courts will use to determine a child support order. Throughout California, the Court uses a software program that takes into consideration the guidelines and calculates the monthly child support amount. The two most critical factors used to calculate the child support is each party’s income and the percentage of time each party spends with the child. For example, as your parenting time increases the amount of child support you pay decreases and vice versa. Other factors include tax filing status and deductions like union dues, mandatory retirement, and monthly medical insurance premiums.
Some cases can become more complicated, depending on the type of work the parent does to earn a living. For example, if a parent is self-employed or owns a business a profit and loss is required to determine the available income for support. Tax returns and proof of actual expenses often become crucial to legitimize the profit and loss submitted to the Court. If commissions and bonuses are part of the compensation, a separate calculation can be made in order to order a certain percentage of the bonus to be awarded to the other party. These calculations are separate and are called Osler/Smith calculations in the legal field.
Other common issues in child support:
Job contact orders
If one party is not working the Court can order that party to provide proof of attempts to find work on a regular basis and provide that written proof to the other party.
Wage Withholding Orders
A wage withholding order can be issued when there is an active child support order and you would like the employer to begin to directly take it out of the parties’ paycheck.
Imputation of Income
Despite the guideline calculation, parties can reach a stipulation to agree to a lower or higher amount, but if they do so at any time either party can file a motion seeking a guideline order.