Child Support

Generally, child support is paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to contribute to the cost of upbringing of the children. The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time. If the child resides an equal amount of time with each parent, the parent with the lower income may still be entitled to child support. The amount of support you will pay is set according to a formula described in California Family Code § 4055. The amount of support ordered is dependent on the following factors: the parties’ net disposable income; the approximate time the high earner has physical custody of the children; the number of other children supported; costs of child care; health care expenses; and whether there are extraordinary expenses associated with the children. Travel expenses and costs relating to education and other special needs may be considered by a court. There are exceptions to the formula for low-income parents. If you go to an attorney, they will likely use Dissomaster to calculate support. You may also use the free child support calculator on the Department of Child Support Services website.

Income for support services includes commissions, salaries, royalties, wages, bonuses, rents, dividends, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, social security benefits, and spousal support actually received from a person not a party to the proceeding to establish a support order. The court may consider income from whatever source derived, but does not include income from child support or public assistance which is based on “need.”

Practice tip: When you make a request for child support, it is generally set on a general calendar (not ex parte) which is at least 45 days out, if you are filing in Los Angeles County. Support is retroactive to the date of FILING, not the hearing, so you will want to file the Request for Order as soon as possible. Courts generally award retroactivity back to the 1st or 15th day of the month closest to your day of filing. There is a little known code section, Family Code 4009, which states support may be retroactive to the date of the filing of the initial Petition. You can try arguing this point.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email office at or call (818) 996-9776.