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How is child support calculated?

Money is often a concern when a California couple decides to divorce. Rather than funding one household with two incomes, it is now necessary for each individual to fund his or her own household. This makes it important to know how much money is coming in and going out each month. Some expenses, such as housing, are easily determined. Other expenses, such as child support, are a little more complicated.

Child support is the money paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to assist in caring for the child or children that the couple share. While the amount to be paid is a percentage of the parent's net disposable monthly income, there is a lot that goes into determining exactly what that income is. Additionally, certain expenses are deducted from this income calculation.

In addition to wages, tips and commission payments, bonuses are included as part of the income figure. Furthermore, interest earned and dividends received on investment accounts are income. Rental income received is also a part of this income calculation. Finally, any other income received such as unemployment or disability benefits, as well as lottery or other winnings, are included.

Some items are also subtracted from this net disposable income calculation. These items include taxes, health care premiums, mandatory union dues and mandatory retirement contributions. Additionally, other child support or costs for a child from another relationship are taken into consideration.

Once the amount of net disposable monthly income has been determined, there are still other considerations. The California court also looks at the amount of time the child will spend with each parent as well as any extraordinary or extenuating circumstances. Experienced legal counsel can assist the individual in anticipating the amount of child support that he or she will be responsible for paying or anticipate receiving.

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