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What is "Guideline Child Support?"

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In California, two parents CAN agree to a child support payment of any amount (unless one party is receiving public assistance benefits for a child of this marriage).

However, if they CANNOT agree, the court has little choice but to order what is called "guideline child support."

Guideline child support orders are based on the mathematical formula described in California Family Code, Section 4055. Opens new window  Various computer software programs such as "Support Tax" and "Dissomaster" simplify this formula.

These computer programs require you to give information about:

  • number of children covered by the order,
  • how much time each parent spends with the child,
  • number of other children supported by you or your spouse or partner,
  • cost of health insurance for the children,
  • cost of child care to allow a parent to work or go to school, and
  • various other numbers about the income and other finances of both parties.

Once all information is entered, the program determines the amount to be paid for guideline support.

If you want help calculating guideline support you can either contact an attorney or the office of the Family Law Facilitator. Opens new window The Facilitator's Office calculates these numbers
for free.

The court can order non-guideline support only in very unusual circumstances.


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