In California, child support is determined using a mathematical formula codified in Family Code Section 4055. The most important component is the respective income of the parents. The next most important is the amount of time the parents have custody. Changes in custody time can sometimes result in modest changes in child support payment amounts.
Child support calculations are uniformly made using a computer program. The one used in Los Angeles is called the Dissomaster. Both family law attorneys and the family court judges use the program. While it takes into account the income of the parties and the amount of time each parent spends with the kids, the most important factor is income.
Child Support Amounts Can Be Modified
Child support can be reduced or increased by making a court motion. If the facts support it and you make a formal motion to the court for a modification, you can have support increased or reduced. For example, if the parent receiving the child support inherits money, gets a large raise, or otherwise has an increased ability to support the children, support payments may be reduced for the paying parent. Or, if the paying parent loses his or her job, the court can be asked to reduce support during the period of unemployment or lower income.
Child support orders cannot be changed simply because one parent desires a change. A change in the support amount will be based on evidence proving that sufficient grounds exist to make the change. This requires showing the circumstances have changed from what they were when the order was entered. (In the many years a child support order remains effective, the parents’ circumstances may change many times and so may the child support order.)