Child support negotiations often cause friction between the parents. Knowing the California laws for child support and the expectations for payment is vital for a smooth process. Handling the situation amicably is not only good for the parents but for the child as well. 

Both parents are responsible for supporting their children. However, generally, the noncustodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent. 

How to determine income for child support 

Parents may decide on a child support amount on their own. In this process, they stipulate a support amount and a judicial officer may approve or disapprove the request. 

However, if the parents are unable to come to an agreement, the court may order one parent to pay a certain amount of child support to the other parent. In California, there are guidelines in place to establish child support amounts. 

These guidelines can take into account: 

  • The income of each parent 
  • The number of children the parents have 
  • Taxes of each parent 
  • Health insurance benefits 

How long one must pay child support 

If the court requires one ex-spouse to pay child support, he or she needs to provide that support until the child is 18 years old and has a high school education, 19 years old without a high school education, in the military or married. In the case of a disabled child, the court may request that the support continues into adulthood. 

How to modify the child support amount 

A person may request modifications to a child support order by filing a Stipulation to Establish or Modify Child Support Order form. The court requires a valid reason to ask for a modification to child support. For example, the court may approve this request if either spouse had changes made to their income. 

It is important to never stop making child support payments until a court changes the order. Not paying may result in a 10% interest on all support owed.